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The present study aims to examine why parents engage in overprotective parenting in interaction with their emerging adults. Specifically, this study used an Actor-Partner Interdependence Model to examine associations between parental attachment representations (both maternal and paternal attachment anxiety and avoidance), parental separation anxiety, and parental overprotection. Additionally, we examined whether maternal attachment, separation anxiety, and overprotection predicted the emerging adult’s actual living situation (at home / away from home) 1 year later, and maternal negative affect regarding emerging adults’ home-leaving. The sample consisted of Caucasian participants and included 246 adolescents in their final year of secondary school (mean age Time 1 = 17.14) and their parents (242 mothers, 218 fathers). Results showed that both maternal and paternal attachment anxiety related to more maternal and paternal separation anxiety, respectively (p’s < .001). In turn, separation anxiety in mothers and fathers related to respectively maternal (p < .001) and paternal overprotection (p < .05), as perceived by the emerging adult. There was one significant partner-effect between maternal attachment anxiety and paternal separation anxiety (p < .05). Further, higher scores on perceived maternal overprotection related to a higher likelihood that the emerging adult would still live at home 1 year later (p < .01), as well as to more negative maternal affect related to the process of home-leaving (p < .05). In sum, the current study revealed the importance of attachment and separation anxiety as significant parental factors related to parental overprotection.
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- Searching for the Roots of Overprotective Parenting in Emerging Adulthood: Investigating the Link with Parental Attachment Representations Using An Actor Partner Interdependence Model (APIM)
Katrijn, M. Brenning
Stijn Van Petegem
- Springer US