ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

心理学报 ›› 2020, Vol. 52 ›› Issue (3): 307-316.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2020.00307

• 研究报告 • 上一篇    下一篇


王文超, 伍新春()   

  1. 北京师范大学心理学部, 应用实验心理北京市重点实验室, 心理学国家级实验教学示范中心(北京师范大学), 北京 100875
  • 收稿日期:2019-06-06 出版日期:2020-03-25 发布日期:2020-01-18
  • 通讯作者: 伍新春
  • 基金资助:
    * 北京市社会科学基金重大项目资助(15ZDA11)

Mediating roles of gratitude, social support and posttraumatic growth in the relation between empathy and prosocial behavior among adolescents after the Ya’an earthquake

WANG Wenchao, WU Xinchun()   

  1. Faculty of Psychology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
  • Received:2019-06-06 Online:2020-03-25 Published:2020-01-18
  • Contact: WU Xinchun


以雅安地震极重灾区芦山县的542名中学生为被试, 在地震发生3.5年后, 采用人际反应指数量表测查被试的共情能力, 并在震后4.5年采用感恩问卷、社会关系网络问卷、创伤后成长问卷和亲社会行为问卷测查被试的感恩、社会支持、创伤后成长(posttraumatic growth, PTG)和亲社会行为, 从追踪的视角考察地震后青少年的共情能力对亲社会行为的影响, 并探讨感恩、社会支持和创伤后成长(PTG)在其中的中介作用。结果显示, 共情可直接正向预测亲社会行为; 共情对亲社会行为的预测可分别通过感恩、社会支持和PTG的中介进行; 共情还可以分别通过感恩经社会支持、感恩经PTG、社会支持经PTG、感恩经社会支持再经PTG的链式中介对亲社会行为起到正向预测作用。这一发现提示, 未来的创伤后心理辅导工作应更加关注青少年的积极心理和社会行为的发展。

关键词: 共情, 感恩, 社会支持, 创伤后成长, 亲社会行为


Empathy refers to the traits, or tendencies, of a person to affectively experience emotions of concern at the suffering of others and to cognitively adopt another person’s perspective. Possession of empathy has been assumed to encourage prosocial behavior. The mechanisms by which empathy affects prosocial behavior for adolescent survivors of disaster, however, are unclear. Posttraumatic growth (PTG) was considered a common positive change following trauma events and was identified as having a high prevalence rate in various trauma types. After experiencing natural disasters, individuals with high empathy are more vulnerable to their adverse environment and the traumatic situations of others. This results in more psychological pressure and fear, and these pressures and negative emotions force individuals to think about the meaning of trauma, thus promoting the generation of PTG. The emergence of PTG brings positive behavioral change among survivors after the disaster. Therefore, it was suggested that empathy may exert indirect effects on prosocial behavior through PTG.
According to current theories, empathy has different emotional and cognitive components. When individuals empathize with others, these components are activated, which may lead to gratitude and, in turn, result in prosocial behavior. As a moral barometer, gratitude informs the beneficiary that a benefactor has bestowed a gift. The prosocial behavior of a benefactor toward a beneficiary is thought to produce gratitude within the beneficiary. This then stimulates the beneficiary’s prosocial behavior, further strengthening the benefactor’s own prosocial behavior.
Furthermore, traumatized survivors with greater empathy may improve communication with others, increase the sense of intimacy, and perceive more support from others—meaning that empathy may lead individuals to have more social support. Social support refers to an individual’s perception of the support provided by others. That perception can be influenced by gratitude. Adolescents with low social support are more likely to interpret other people’s ambiguous actions as aggressive. Thus, stable social relationships seem to promote PTG and prosocial behavior. Taken together, it is possible that empathy can promote prosocial behavior through gratitude, social support, and PTG in post-disaster contexts. The utility of these predictions, however, was unclear.
To examine the relation between empathy, gratitude, social support, PTG and prosocial behavior, this study used an interpersonal reactivity index scale, gratitude questionnaire, social support questionnaire, posttraumatic growth inventory and prosocial behavior questionnaire to assess 542 adolescents following Ya’an earthquake. The results indicated that after controlling the trauma exposure, empathy have a positive association with prosocial behavior through the following routes: three one-mediator paths of gratitude, social support and PTG, respectively; three two-mediator paths of gratitude via PTG, social support via PTG and gratitude via social support, and one three-mediator path from gratitude to PTG via social support. These findings suggested that following a natural disaster, adolescent survivors’ empathy may have an indirect and positive relation with prosocial behavior by gratitude, social support and PTG.

Key words: empathy, gratitude, social support, PTG, prosocial behavior