ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2015, Vol. 23 ›› Issue (11): 1931-1941.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2015.01931

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Family Rearing Environment and Children’s Development: The Differential Susceptibility Hypothesis

MA Yuanyuan; ZHOU Quan; XING Shufen   

  1. (Department of Psychology, Capital Normal University, Beijing 100048, China)
  • Received:2015-04-10 Online:2015-11-15 Published:2015-11-15
  • Contact: XING Shufen, E-mail:


The differential susceptibility hypothesis maintains that children have differential susceptibility to rearing environments’ influence. Some children are not only more vulnerable than others to the negative effects of adversity, but also disproportionately susceptible to the beneficial effects of supportive and enriching rearing environment. Firstly, this article elaborated the basic theoretical perspectives of differential susceptibility theory and the statistical criteria for establishing differential susceptibility. Secondly, empirical research evidence consistent with differential susceptibility model in recent years was reviewed from behavioral, endophenotypic and genetic factors, namely, how these factors moderated the effects of rearing environments on the children’s development as moderators. Finally, the limitations of previous studies and the directions of future researches were summarized.

Key words: differential susceptibility, rearing, temperament, physiology, gene