ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

心理学报 ›› 2023, Vol. 55 ›› Issue (5): 711-725.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2023.00711

• 研究报告 • 上一篇    下一篇

亲子关系、感觉加工敏感性与COMT Val158Met多态性对学前儿童亲社会行为的交互影响

刘倩文, 王振宏()   

  1. 陕西师范大学心理学院, 陕西(高校)哲学社会科学重点研究基地-儿童青少年心理与行为健康研究中心, 西安 710062
  • 收稿日期:2022-06-23 出版日期:2023-05-25 发布日期:2023-02-14
  • 通讯作者: 王振宏, E-mail:
  • 基金资助:

The interactive effects of parent-child relationship, sensory processing sensitivity, and the COMT Val158Met polymorphism on preschoolers’ prosocial behaviors

LIU Qianwen, WANG Zhenhong()   

  1. School of Psychology, Shaanxi Normal University;Shaanxi Provincial Key Research Center of Child Mental and Behavioral Health, Xi’an 710062
  • Received:2022-06-23 Online:2023-05-25 Published:2023-02-14


基于个体多重敏感性因素与环境交互的视角, 本研究探讨了亲子关系、感觉加工敏感性(Sensory Processing Sensitivity, SPS)与COMT Val158Met多态性的交互作用对学前儿童亲社会行为的影响。研究以507名学前儿童为被试(M年龄 = 4.83岁, SD = 0.90岁), 分别采用父母报告的亲子关系量表、高敏感儿童量表、长处与困难问卷中的亲社会分问卷测量了亲子关系、儿童的SPS和亲社会行为, 采集唾液样本进行基因位点的分型。研究结果发现, 亲子冲突、SPS与COMT Val158Met多态性的三重交互作用对儿童亲社会行为影响显著。在携带Val/Val基因型的儿童中, 高SPS儿童比低SPS儿童在低亲子冲突条件下表现更多的亲社会行为, 但在高亲子冲突条件下表现更少的亲社会行为; 在携带Met等位基因的儿童中, 亲子冲突与SPS的交互作用对儿童亲社会行为的影响不显著。研究结果表明同时具有高气质敏感性和高基因敏感性儿童的亲社会行为更容易受到亲子冲突的影响, 这为深入理解个体多重敏感性因素与家庭环境交互影响儿童发展提供了证据。

关键词: 亲子关系, 感觉加工敏感性, COMT基因, 学前儿童, 亲社会行为, 个体−环境交互


Prosocial behaviors are voluntary behaviors aimed at benefiting others, which develop rapidly during preschool and provide a foundation for children’s social competence and moral development. According to the person-environment interaction (P×E) framework, children’s traits may interact with the family environment, affecting their prosocial behaviors. Numerous studies have established that parent-child relationship is a crucial component of family psychosocial environments in predicting children’s prosocial behaviors. Sensory processing sensitivity (SPS) is a temperament trait that reflects children’s sensitivity to environmental and social stimuli. Children with high SPS are more susceptible to environmental factors. Furthermore, previous research has suggested that the Val/Val genotype of the COMT Val158Met polymorphism may be a sensitive genotype for prosociality, interacting with environmental factors to influence individuals’ prosocial behaviors. In particular, prior research has proposed that different types of environmental sensitivities, such as temperamental, physiological, and genetic sensitivities, may have a multiplicative effect on social development. Parent-child relationship is an important family psychosocial environmental stimulus. More importantly, two distinct aspects of parent-child relationship, that is, closeness and conflict, may have different functions. Closeness emphasizes the parent-child connection and is characterized by emotional closeness and the sharing of private thoughts and feelings. Conversely, conflict refers to stressful experiences between parents and children that are accompanied by anger or irritation. Therefore, the present study investigated three-way interactive effects of closeness or conflict, SPS, and the COMT Val158Met polymorphism on preschoolers’ prosocial behaviors. Specifically, other hypotheses regarding potential differences in closeness and conflict were formulated.

A total of 507 preschoolers (Mage = 4.83, SD = 0.90; 236 girls) were recruited through advertisements at two local kindergartens. Saliva samples for DNA extraction were obtained from preschoolers. Their parents completed questionnaires on parent-child relationship, children’s SPS, and prosocial behaviors. Statistical analyses were performed in SPSS 24, Mplus 8.3, and R statistical software. First, a test for Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium and preliminary analyses were conducted. Moreover, linear regression models were conducted, with prosocial behaviors as the dependent variable to test for the main and interactive effects of closeness or conflict, SPS, and genotypes. Sex, age, and family socioeconomic status were included as covariates. The effects of parent-child closeness and parent-child conflict were examined in separate models, but the other dimension of parent-child relationship was controlled in each model. Finally, region of significance and reparameterization regression analyses were employed to examine the optimal shape of the P×E effect.

The results indicated that both parent-child closeness and SPS positively affected preschoolers’ prosocial behaviors (ps< 0.01), while parent-child conflict was negatively associated with prosocial behaviors (p< 0.001). The two-way interaction terms (closeness/conflict × SPS; closeness/conflict × the COMT Val158Met polymorphism; SPS × the COMT Val158Met polymorphism) and the three-way interactive effect of parent-child closeness, SPS, and the COMT Val158Met polymorphism on prosocial behaviors were not significant. However, the effect of parent-child conflict × SPS × the COMT Val158Met polymorphism on prosocial behaviors was significant. We conducted further analyses to compare the interactive effect of parent-child conflict and SPS in preschoolers with the Val/Val and Met+ genotypes on the COMTVal158Met polymorphism. A significant interaction term was observed in Val/Val genotype carriers (b= −0.18, p = 0.002, 95% CI [−0.304, −0.069]) but not Met carriers (b= 0.06, p = 0.286, 95% CI [−0.052, 0.167]). The region of significance test indicated that Val/Val genotype carriers with high SPS showed significantly more prosocial behaviors under a low level of parent-child conflict and fewer prosocial behaviors under a high level of parent-child conflict, which supports the differential susceptibility model. The results of the re-parameterized regression models further verified the shape of the interaction effect of parent-child conflict and SPS on preschoolers’ prosocial behaviors.

In summary, the present study signified that different types of sensitivities (temperament and genes) to family stressful environments may have a multiplicative effect on preschoolers’ prosocial behaviors. Furthermore, it suggested that preschoolers with both the sensitive genotype (Val/Val) and sensitive temperament trait (high SPS) were more affected by parent-child conflict and developed prosocial behaviors in a ‘‘for better and for worse’’ manner. The findings provide evidence for the differential susceptibility model and contribute to a further understanding of children’s prosocial behaviors based on the P×E approach, especially from the perspective of children’s multiple sensitivities.

Key words: parent-child relationship, sensory processing sensitivity, COMT gene, preschoolers, prosocial behaviors, person × environment interaction


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