Cardiac vagal tone is a biological correlate of emotion regulation and can be divided into emotion regulation (tonic cardiac vagal tone (TCVT)) and the flexibility to adapt to changing conditions (phasic cardiac vagal tone (PCVT)). There is evidence that stress exposure impacts cardiac vagal tone in adults and old children and that TCVT influences PCVT dynamics in adults. This study aimed to investigate this in young children. Analyses revealed that TCVT impacts on PCVT dynamics in preschoolers and only low birth weight was related to PCVT dynamics, but no other early life stress condition nor any accumulation of stress exposures.
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