Vortices and axisymmetric vortex rings are considered in the framework of the subcritical nonlinear Schrödinger equations. The higher order nonlinearity present in such systems models many-body interactions in superfluid systems and allows one to study the effects of negative pressure on vortex dynamics. We find the critical pressure for which the straight-line vortex becomes unstable to radial expansion of the core. The energy of the straight-line vortices and energy, impulse and velocity of vortex rings are calculated. The effect of a varying pressure on the vortex core is studied. It is shown that under the action of the periodically varying pressure field a vortex ring may split into many vortex rings and the conditions for which this happens are elucidated. These processes are also relevant to experiments in Bose-Einstein condensates where the strength and the sign of two-body interactions can be changed via Feshbach resonance.