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03-03-2021 | Original Paper | Uitgave 4/2021

Journal of Child and Family Studies 4/2021

Relationships between Helicopter Parenting, Psychological Needs Satisfaction, and Prosocial Behaviors in Emerging Adults

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 4/2021
Auteurs:
Holly H. Schiffrin, Miranda L. Batte-Futrell, Nichole M. Boigegrain, Christine N. Cao, Erin R. Whitesell
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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine whether psychological needs satisfaction mediated the association between helicopter parenting and emerging adults’ prosocial tendencies. There were 288 participants with an average age of 19.72 (SD = 1.77) who completed an online survey including measures of maternal and paternal helicopter parenting; satisfaction of the psychological needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness; as well as the prosocial outcomes of empathic concern, perspective-taking, and helping others. There was an indirect effect of maternal helicopter parenting on empathetic concern, perspective-taking, and prosocial behaviors through autonomy. There was also an indirect effect of both maternal and paternal helicopter parenting on empathetic concern through relatedness. Helicopter parenting was associated with less autonomy and sense of relatedness, which were both associated with fewer prosocial tendencies among emerging adults. There were no other direct or indirect effects of maternal or paternal helicopter parenting on emerging adults’ prosocial tendencies. Given that satisfaction of psychological needs has been found to promote intrinsically motivated behavior and facilitate the internal regulation of behavior that is extrinsically motivated in prior research, the relationship between helicopter parenting and decreased psychological needs satisfaction found in this study is concerning. If helicopter parenting shifts emerging adults’ motivation for prosocial behavior from more intrinsic to extrinsic sources, then they may engage in fewer prosocial behaviors and may not experience the sense of well-being typically associated with doing them.

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