ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

心理学报 ›› 2023, Vol. 55 ›› Issue (3): 469-480.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2023.00469

• 研究报告 • 上一篇    下一篇


徐健捷, 张一一, 林德堃, 车俐颖, 宋漫漫, 韩卓()   

  1. 北京师范大学心理学部, 北京 100875
  • 收稿日期:2021-09-26 发布日期:2022-12-22 出版日期:2023-03-25
  • 通讯作者: 韩卓
  • 基金资助:

Parent-child attachment and children’s depressive symptoms: The role of children’s biological sensitivity and parental gender differences

XU Jianjie, ZHANG Yiyi, LAM Tak Kwan, CHE Liying, SONG Manman, HAN Zhuo()   

  1. Faculty of Psychology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
  • Received:2021-09-26 Online:2022-12-22 Published:2023-03-25
  • Contact: HAN Zhuo


不良的亲子依恋是导致儿童抑郁症状的风险因素, 但其对儿童的影响会因儿童对环境的生物敏感性不同而存在差异。为探究家庭中母子、父子依恋对儿童抑郁症状的影响及儿童生物敏感性(本文中采用迷走神经抑制作为指标)在其中的作用, 本研究结合行为任务、问卷报告、生理测量等多种研究手段, 招募150名学龄儿童(平均年龄8.64岁, 63名女孩)参与研究。结果表明:(1)学龄儿童的母子依恋水平高于父子依恋水平。(2)高水平的母子依恋与父子依恋会同等程度地降低儿童的抑郁症状。(3)儿童对环境的生物敏感性对母子依恋影响儿童抑郁症状路径的调节作用显著, 生理上对环境更敏感(高迷走神经抑制)的儿童更易得益于高母子依恋, 表现出较低的抑郁水平; 但同时, 这类儿童在母子依恋较低时也更易表现出较高的抑郁水平。(4)儿童的生物敏感性对父子依恋影响儿童抑郁症状路径的调节作用不显著, 高父子依恋对生物敏感性水平不同的儿童均存在有利影响。(5)在不同情境中测量的迷走神经抑制对亲子依恋影响儿童抑郁症状的调节作用模式相似, 表现出跨情境一致的特点。本研究率先揭示儿童迷走神经抑制与亲子依恋对儿童抑郁症状的联合作用机制及父母角色差异。

关键词: 亲子依恋, 儿童抑郁症状, 生物敏感性, 父母差异


Secure and stable parent-child attachment is beneficial for children’s mental health, whereas maladaptive parent-child attachment may lead to children’s maladjustment such as depressive symptoms. Due to rapid sociocultural development in China, traditional patriarchal parenting patterns with fathers as breadwinners and mothers as homemakers have gradually diminished. Instead, Chinese fathers today spend an increasing amount of involvement in their children’s development. However, little to no research has examined the unique effects of father-child and mother-child attachment on children’s developmental outcomes in contemporary China. More importantly, the Biological Sensitivity to Context Theory (BSCT) suggests that the association between parent- child attachment and child developmental outcomes may vary among children with different levels of biological sensitivity. According to this theory, children who are biologically sensitive are more susceptible to adaptive or maladaptive parent-child relationships. Taken together, the present study aimed to examine how children’s depressive symptoms were affected by mother-child and father-child attachments and whether this effect was moderated by the children’s biological sensitivity. The potential father vs. mother difference was also examined.

150 school-aged children (63 girls and 87 boys, Mage = 8.64 years) participated in the current study. Children reported their depressive symptoms as well as their perceived parent-child attachment with mothers and fathers, respectively. Children’s biological sensitivity (i.e., vagal suppression) was assessed by the decrease of respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA) between the resting phase and the task phases (i.e., a social stress task and a negative emotion provoking task) through the Biopac MP150 systems. Descriptive statistics and bivariate correlations were analyzed via SPSS 25.0, and moderation models were conducted via Mplus 8.3.

Our results are highlighted by five major points: (1) The level of mother-child attachment was higher than that of father-child attachment. (2) Both mother-child attachment and father-child attachment were uniquely and negatively associated with children's depressive symptoms, and the strengths of the aforementioned paths were equivalent. (3) Children's biological sensitivity (vagal suppression) measured in the social stress task and the negative emotion provoking task had similar moderating effects on the relationship between parent-child attachment and children’s depressive symptoms, indicating the cross-context consistency of the roles of biological sensitivity. (4) Children’s cross-context biological sensitivity moderated the relationship between mother-child attachment and children’s depressive symptoms. Specifically, highly sensitive children (vs. non-sensitive children) were more likely to benefit from secure mother-child attachment but were also more likely to be harmed by insecure mother-child attachment. (5) Children's cross-context biological sensitivity did not moderate the relationship between father-child attachment and children’s depressive symptoms, such that higher father-child attachment was consistently associated with lower children’s depressive symptoms, regardless of children’s levels of biological sensitivity.

Based on attachment theory and the BSCT, the present study indicates that children’s attachment with their mothers or fathers are uniquely associated with children's depressive symptoms, and that mother-child attachment jointly interacted with children’s biological sensitivity to influence children’s depressive symptoms. As a theoretical application, our study innovatively suggests that future studies should consider the context in which an indicator of biological sensitivity is assessed as well as parental roles (father vs. mother) when testing the BSCT in family studies. As a practical application, our findings indicate the potential different roles of father-child attachment and mother-child attachment in protecting children from suffering depressive symptoms, providing empirical evidence to support the development of family-based prevention and intervention projects aimed at alleviating children’s psychopathological problems.

Key words: parent-child attachment, children’s depressive symptoms, biological sensitivity to context, parental gender