ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

心理学报 ›› 2021, Vol. 53 ›› Issue (9): 976-991.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2021.00976

• 研究论文 • 上一篇    下一篇


张文新, 李曦, 陈光辉, 曹衍淼()   

  1. 山东师范大学心理学院, 山东师范大学儿童青少年发展研究院, 济南 250014
  • 收稿日期:2021-05-20 发布日期:2021-07-22 出版日期:2021-09-25
  • 通讯作者: 曹衍淼
  • 基金资助:

The relationship between positive parenting and adolescent prosocial behaviour: The mediating role of empathy and the moderating role of the oxytocin receptor gene

ZHANG Wenxin, LI Xi, CHEN Guanghui, CAO Yanmiao()   

  1. School of Psychology, Research Institute of Child and Adolescent Development, Shandong Normal University, Jinan 250014, China
  • Received:2021-05-20 Online:2021-07-22 Published:2021-09-25
  • Contact: CAO Yanmiao


诸多研究显示母亲积极教养能够促进青少年亲社会行为的发展, 但是迄今对其内在作用机制尚不清楚。本研究基于“基因-环境-内表型-行为”模型, 采用问卷法和DNA分型技术, 对1082名青少年(初测年龄为12.32 ± 0.48岁, 50.3%女生)及其母亲进行为期2年的追踪研究, 考察共情在母亲积极教养与青少年亲社会行为间的中介作用, 以及OXTR基因rs53576多态性对该中介机制的调节作用。结果发现:(1)青少年认知共情(观点采择)在母亲积极教养和亲社会行为之间起中介作用, 而情绪共情(移情关心)的中介作用不显著; (2) OXTR基因对积极教养与亲社会行为间直接路径的调节作用不显著; (3) OXTR基因能够调节“母亲积极教养-认知共情-亲社会行为”中介机制的前半路径, 并且显现出一种超显性的基因效应。在携带GG和AA基因型的青少年中, 母亲积极教养显著正向预测认知共情, 进而增加了其亲社会行为, 而在携带AG杂合子基因型的青少年中, 这一中介效应则不显著。研究结果有助于从催产素受体基因多态性、共情能力和家庭教养等方面阐明青少年亲社会行为的发生机制及个体差异。

关键词: 亲社会行为, 母亲积极教养, OXTR基因, 认知共情, 情绪共情


Prosocial behaviour, that is, behaviour intended to benefit others, has been linked to a variety of desirable traits, including positive relationships, better academic performance and lower levels of antisocial behaviours. As such, the origins and the mechanisms underlying the remarkable individual differences in prosocial behaviour are the focus of an increasing number of studies, with numerous research consistently documenting the important role of positive parenting and empathy. Notably, differentiating between cognitive and emotional components of empathy may help further clarify the processes by which parenting eventuates in prosocial behaviour. Although all children may be impacted by parenting, some children benefit more than others from good-quality rearing. Recent research has suggested that the oxytocin receptor (OXTR) gene rs53576 polymorphism could determine the degree to which a child is influenced by environment. The biological function of rs53576 polymorphism has yet to be delineated, and the literature is mixed with regard to heterozygote (AG) grouping; thus, the implications for AG grouping are not well understood. Therefore, the dummy coding, additive coding, dominant coding and recessive coding models were all investigated in this study to test the nature of gene effect. This study aimed to extend previous studies on the association between parenting and prosocial behaviour by examining the mediating role of cognitive and emotional empathy and the moderating role of the OXTR gene.

The participants were 1082 mother-offspring dyads (adolescents’ mean age: 12.32 ± 0.48 years, 50.3% females) recruited from the community. At Time 1, mothers reported their positive parenting via the Chinese version of the Child-Rearing Practices Report (CRPR) and peer-rated adolescents’ prosocial behaviours. At Time 2, adolescent-reported perspective-taking and empathic concern, peer-rated prosocial behaviours and saliva samples were collected. All measures showed good reliability. Genotyping at OXTR gene was performed with MassARRAY RT software version and analysed using the MassARRAY Typer software version 3.4 (Sequenom).

Results showed that adolescents who received higher levels of maternal positive parenting exhibited more prosocial behaviours. However, the direct effect of positive parenting on prosocial behaviour became nonsignificant after controlling for baseline prosocial behaviour. Cognitive empathy, but not emotional empathy, mediated the association between positive parenting and prosocial behaviour. Specifically, positive parenting was positively associated with cognitive empathy, which in turn was positively associated with adolescent prosocial behaviour. Further, this mediation was moderated by the OXTR gene rs53576 polymorphism. For adolescents with AA and GG genotypes, positive parenting was related to higher levels of cognitive empathy, which increased prosocial behaviour. However, this mediation effect was not observed among adolescents with AG genotype. In addition, the results revealed evidence for an overdominance model for OXTR rs53576. Moreover, the G × E term predicted cognitive empathy but not prosocial behaviour. This finding suggests that cognitive empathy may be an endophenotype closer along the causal chain to the genotype and that the strength of the G × E effects was greater for empathy than for distal behavioural outcomes.

These findings add to our understanding of how empathy and genetic factors contribute to adolescents’ prosocial behaviour within the family context. In addition, these results suggest that cognitive and emotional aspects of empathy are likely to be involved—in somewhat different psychosocial mechanisms—in the development of prosocial behaviour. Notably, the overdominance effect of OXTR should be interpreted with caution until replicated. However, when a three-category polymorphic genotype is used, as is commonly applied when modelling a dominant or recessive effect, both false positive and false negative results can occur, and the nature of the interaction can be misrepresented.

Key words: prosocial behaviour, maternal positive parenting, OXTR gene, cognitive empathy, emotional empathy