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15-05-2020 | Original Paper | Uitgave 7/2020

Journal of Child and Family Studies 7/2020

Understanding the Associations between Helicopter Parenting and Emerging Adults’ Adjustment

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 7/2020
Auteur:
Emily C. Cook
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Abstract

Emerging adulthood is an important developmental period where youth continue to grow and develop. Parents may affect a smooth transition into adult roles by utilizing parenting practices that are developmentally inappropriate, such as helicopter parenting. Despite the recent attention on helicopter parenting, we know little about why helicopter parenting may be disadvantageous to adjustment and for whom helicopter parenting may be most disadvantageous. In the current study, the associations among helicopter parenting and college students’ relationship competence (friendship and romantic), substance use problems, and depressive symptoms was examined, as were potential mediators of these associations. To examine these associations a sample of 637 college students in the Northeastern United States (Mage = 20.03; 70% female; 63% White) completed surveys. Structural equation models indicated that helicopter parenting was associated with increased depressive symptoms, substance use problems, and decreased relationship competence and that these relationships were similar across males and females and youth of different racial/ethnic backgrounds. Perceived stress and youth’s perception that their basic psychological needs were undermined mediated the relationship between helicopter parenting and depressive symptoms. Undermining of psychological needs was the only significant mediator for the association between helicopter parenting and relationship competence. These findings are critical for informing the understanding of the mechanisms that link parenting during emerging adulthood to maladjustment.

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