Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology

, Volume 42, Issue 2, pp 87–93

Parental lack of care and overprotection

Longitudinal associations with DSM-III-R disorders
  • Geertjan Overbeek
  • Margreet ten Have
  • Wilma Vollebergh
  • Ron de Graaf

DOI: 10.1007/s00127-006-0115-6

Cite this article as:
Overbeek, G., ten Have, M., Vollebergh, W. et al. Soc Psychiat Epidemiol (2007) 42: 87. doi:10.1007/s00127-006-0115-6



This study served to replicate and extend the findings from the National Comorbidity Survey [Enns MW, Cox BJ, Clara I (2002) Psychol Med 32:997–1008], in examining associations between recalled parental bonding and the prevalence and incidence of mental disorders in adulthood.


Data were used from 4,796 adults aged 18–64, who had participated in three waves (i.e., 1996, 1997, and 1999) of a large-scale Dutch epidemiological study.


Parental lack of care and overprotection were significantly associated with both prevalence and incidence of DSM-III-R disorders. However, the impact of parental bonding was modest, explaining only 1–5% of the variance in the occurrence and onset of psychopathology. Chi-square tests demonstrated there were no differences between the impact of paternal and maternal rearing behaviors on mental disorders, or between lack of care and overprotection in the prediction of mental disorders.


Overall, individuals’ recollections of parental lack of care and overprotection appear to be non-specifically, modestly related to the prevalence and incidence of DSM-III-R disorders in adults from the general population. Future research may examine indirect or mediated links between parental bonding and (clinical diagnoses of) mental health problems.


parental bonding mental disorders DSM-III-R longitudinal incidence 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Geertjan Overbeek
    • 1
  • Margreet ten Have
    • 2
  • Wilma Vollebergh
    • 2
  • Ron de Graaf
    • 2
  1. 1.Behavioral Science Institute (BSI)Radboud University NijmegenNijmegenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Dept. of Clinical EpidemiologyNetherlands Institute of Mental Health and AddictionUtrechtThe Netherlands

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