, Volume 42, Issue 2, pp 87-93
Date: 14 Sep 2006

Parental lack of care and overprotection

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Abstract

Background

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.

Methods

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.

Results

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.

Conclusions

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.