Psychosocial correlates of peripheral vegetative activity and coordination

Miguel Angel Gandarillas


The present study examines psychosocial correlates of physiological reaction patterns (heart rate, blood pressure, skin conductance, and respiratory measures) to four types of operant contingencies (reward, extinction, punishment, and avoidance) recorded during a computer test to a sample of 32 Dutch university freshmen. Child-rearing factors (Warmth, Control, and Protection), family and demographic variables, and affective meanings of emotions were used as predictors of physiological reactions. As measures of vegetative coordination, maximum cross-correlation coefficients between physiological measures were used and compared. Results support the relevance of child-rearing practices in the development of adult autonomic activation, in particular the role of parental Warmth. Among socio-demographic predictors, family income was most relevant. Subjects´ attitudes towards negative and positive emotions also appear related to physiological indices of cardiovascular coordination. Subjects fell into two vegetative coordination types linked to psychosocial characteristics.

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ISSN: 1981-1330