Original Paper

Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 23, Issue 3, pp 548-557

Helping or Hovering? The Effects of Helicopter Parenting on College Students’ Well-Being

  • Holly H. SchiffrinAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Mary Washington Email author 
  • , Miriam LissAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Mary Washington
  • , Haley Miles-McLeanAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Mary Washington
  • , Katherine A. GearyAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Mary Washington
  • , Mindy J. ErchullAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Mary Washington
  • , Taryn TashnerAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Mary Washington

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access

Abstract

Parental involvement is related to many positive child outcomes, but if not developmentally appropriate, it can be associated with higher levels of child anxiety and depression. Few studies have examined the effects of over-controlling parenting, or “helicopter parenting,” in college students. Some studies have found that college students of over-controlling parents report feeling less satisfied with family life and have lower levels of psychological well-being. This study examined self-determination theory as the potential underlying mechanism explaining this relationship. College students (N = 297) completed measures of helicopter parenting, autonomy supportive parenting, depression, anxiety, satisfaction with life, and basic psychological needs satisfaction. Students who reported having over-controlling parents reported significantly higher levels of depression and less satisfaction with life. Furthermore, the negative effects of helicopter parenting on college students’ well-being were largely explained by the perceived violation of students’ basic psychological needs for autonomy and competence.

Keywords

Helicopter parenting Depression Satisfaction with life Basic psychological needs Self-determination theory