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23-03-2019 | ORIGINAL PAPER

Neurogenetic Mechanisms of Self-Compassionate Mindfulness: the Role of Oxytocin-Receptor Genes

Yuyin Wang, Linlin Fan, Yiyi Zhu, Junkai Yang, Cong Wang, Li Gu, Shengqi Zhong, Yingyu Huang, Xiaolin Xie, Hui Zhou, Siyang Luo, Xiang Wu
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The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s12671-019-01141-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Self-compassionate mindfulness is an important component of self-compassion and has been viewed as an essential factor contributing to well-being. With current advances in social neuroscience highlighting the neurogenetic basis of human behaviors, the present study aimed to investigate the neurogenetic foundation of self-compassionate mindfulness. Of particular interest is OXTR rs53576, which is responsible for affiliation and has been suggested as the potential genetic mechanism underlying self-compassionate mindfulness.


We performed a resting-state fMRI and used a graph theory-based analysis in a sample of genotyped healthy college students. The Self-Compassion Scale-Short Form (SCS-SF) was used to assess the trait of self-compassion.


G allele carriers of OXTR rs53576 displayed higher self-compassionate mindfulness than did A/A carriers (p = 0.034, ηp2 = 0.086). Moreover, the graphic metric of the degree in regions in the empathy network (i.e., the right angular gyrus, medial prefrontal cortex, and anterior cingulate cortex) mediated the association between OXTR rs53576 and self-compassionate mindfulness (95% CI [0.1716, 1.2929]). The graphic metric of the local efficiency in regions of the executive control network (i.e., the right dorsal lateral prefrontal cortex and inferior parietal cortex) also mediated the relationship between OXTR rs53576 and self-compassionate mindfulness (95% CI [0.1792, 1.2866]).


These findings advance our understanding of how self-compassionate mindfulness affects mental health improvements, which is conducive to preventions and interventions aiming to enhance well-being.

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