Helicopter Parenting, Self-regulatory Processes, and Alcohol Use among Female College Students

Abstract

Alcohol use, which is often associated with other problems in well-being, is a persistent problem among college students. Helicopter parenting, defined as parental overinvolvement, is an emerging parenting behavior that could be associated with alcohol use among college students. This study of 473 female undergraduate students investigated the association between helicopter parenting and alcohol use through psychological needs satisfaction and self-control. Structural equation modeling suggested that helicopter parenting was associated with higher levels of alcohol use through lower levels of psychological needs satisfaction and self-control. The implications for college students, parents of college students, educators, and university administrators are also discussed.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1

References

  1. Abar, C., & Turrisi, R. (2008). How important are parents during the college years? A longitudinal perspective of indirect influences parents yield on their college teens’ alcohol use. Addictive Behaviors, 33, 1360–1368. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.addbeh.2008.06.010.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  2. Allen, J. P., Hauser, S. T., Bell, K. L., & O’Connor, T. G. (1994). Longitudinal assessment of autonomy and relatedness in adolescent-family interactions as predictors of adolescent ego development and self-esteem. Child Development, 65, 179–194. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8624.1994.tb00743.x.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  3. American College Health Association. (2016). American College Health Association National College Health Assessment. Retrieved October 28, 2016, from http://www.acha-ncha.org/reports_ACHA-NCHAIIc.html.

  4. Arnett, J. J. (2000). Emerging adulthood: A theory of development from the late teens through the twenties. American Psychologist, 55, 469–471. https://doi.org/10.1037/0003-066X.55.5.469.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  5. Baumeister, R. F., Vohs, K. D., & Tice, D. M. (2007). The strength model of self-control. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 16, 351–355. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8721.2007.00534.x.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Betts, J., Gullone, E., & Allen, J. S. (2009). An examination of emotion regulation, temperament, and parenting style as potential predictors of adolescent depression risk status: A correlational study. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 27, 473–485. https://doi.org/10.1348/026151008X314900.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  7. Bradley-Geist, J., & Olson-Buchanan, B., J (2014). Helicopter parents: An examination of the correlates of over-parenting of college students. Education & Training, 56, 314–328. https://doi.org/10.1108/ET-10-2012-0096.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Carver, C. S., & Scheier, M. F. (1982). Control theory: A useful conceptual framework for personality-social, clinical, and health psychology. Psychological Bulletin, 92, 111–135. https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.92.1.111.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  9. Chang, L., Schwartz, D., Dodge, K. A., & McBride-Chang, C. (2003). Harsh parenting in relation to child emotion regulation and aggression. Journal of Family Psychology, 17, 598–615. https://doi.org/10.1037/0893-3200.17.4.598.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  10. Cooper, M. L. (2002). Alcohol use and risky sexual behavior among college students and youth: Evaluating the evidence. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, Supplement, 14, 101–117. https://doi.org/10.15288/jsas.2002.s14.101.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Cui, M., Graber, J., Metz, A., & Darling, C. (2016). Parental indulgence, self-regulation, and young adults’ behavioral and emotional problems. Journal of Family Studies. https://doi.org/10.1080/13229400.2016.1237884.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Cui, M., Lorenz, F. O., Conger, R. D., Melby, J. N., & Bryant, C. M. (2005). Observer, self-, and partner reports of hostile behaviors in romantic relationships. Journal of Marriage and Family, 67, 1169–1181. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1741-3737.2005.00208.x.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (2000). The “what” and “why” of goal pursuits: Human needs and the self-determination of behavior. Psychological Inquiry, 11, 227–268. https://doi.org/10.1207/S15327965PLI1104_01.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (2008). Self-determination theory: A macrotheory of human motivation, development, and health. Canadian Psychology, 49, 182–197. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0012801.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Earle, A. M., & LaBrie, J. W. (2016). The upside of helicopter parenting: Engaging parents to reduce first-year student drinking. Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice, 53, 319–330. https://doi.org/10.1080/19496591.2016.1165108.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  16. Fischer, J. L., Forthun, L. F., Pidcock, B. W., & Dowd, D. A. (2007). Parent relationships, emotion regulation, psychosocial maturity and college student alcohol use problems. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 36, 912–919. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-006-9126-6.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Hagger, M. S., Wood, C., Stiff, C., & Chatzisarantis, N. L. (2010). Ego depletion and the strength model of self-control: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 136, 495–509. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0019486.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  18. Haverfield, M. C., & Theiss, J. A. (2016). Parental communication of responsiveness and control as predictors of adolescents’ emotional and behavioral resilience in families with alcoholic versus nonalcoholic parents. Human Communication Research, 43, 214–236. https://doi.org/10.1111/hcre.12102.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Hingson, R., Heeren, T., Winter, M., & Wechsler, H. (2005). Magnitude of alcohol-related mortality and morbidity among US college students ages 18–24: Changes from 1998 to 2001. Annual Review of Public Health, 26, 259–279. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.publhealth.26.021304.144652.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  20. Hingson, R. W., Zha, W., & Weitzman, E. R. (2009). Magnitude of and trends in alcohol-related mortality and morbidity among US college students ages 18–24, 1998–2005. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, Supplement, 16, 12–20. https://doi.org/10.15288/jsads.2009.s16.12.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Karwacki, S. B., & Bradley, J. R. (1996). Coping, drinking motives, goal attainment expectancies and family models in relation to alcohol use among college students. Journal of Drug Education, 26, 243–255. https://doi.org/10.2190/A1P0-J36H-TLMJ-0L32.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  22. Kline, R. B. (2015). Principles and practice of structural equation modeling. New York: Guilford Publications.

    Google Scholar 

  23. Kwon, K., Yoo, G., & Bingham, G. E. (2015). Helicopter parenting in emerging adulthood: Support or barrier for Korean college students’ psychological adjustment? Journal of Child and Family Studies, 25, 136–145. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-015-0195-6.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Laible, D. (2007). Attachment with parents and peers in late adolescence: Links with emotional competence and social behavior. Personality and Individual Differences, 43, 1185–1197. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2007.03.010.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. LeMoyne, T., & Buchanan, T. (2011). Does “hovering” matter? Helicopter parenting and its effect on well-being. Sociological Spectrum, 31, 399–418. https://doi.org/10.1080/02732173.2011.574038.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Locke, J. Y., Campbell, M. A., & Kavanagh, D. (2012). Can a parent do too much for their child? An examination by parenting professionals of the concept of overparenting. Australian Journal of Guidance and Counselling, 22, 249–265. https://doi.org/10.1017/jgc.2012.29.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Morris, A. S., Silk, J. S., Steinberg, L., Myers, S. S., & Robinson, L. R. (2007). The role of the family context in the development of emotion regulation. Social Development, 16, 361–388. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9507.2007.00389.x.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  28. Muraven, M., Collins, R. L., & Neinhaus, K. (2002). Self-control and alcohol restraint: An initial application of the self-control strength model. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 16, 113–124. https://doi.org/10.1037/0893-164X.16.2.113.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  29. Muraven, M., Rosman, H., & Gagné, M. (2007). Lack of autonomy and self-control: Performance contingent rewards lead to greater depletion. Motivation and Emotion, 31, 322–330. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11031-007-9073-x.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Nelson, L. J., Padilla-Walker, L. M., & Nielson, M. G. (2015). Is hovering smothering or loving? An examination of parental warmth as a moderator of relations between helicopter parenting and emerging adults’ indices of adjustment. Emerging Adulthood, 3, 282–285. https://doi.org/10.1177/2167696815576458.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Noom, M. J., Deković, M., & Meeus, W. H. (1999). Autonomy, attachment and psychosocial adjustment during adolescence: A double-edged sword? Journal of Adolescence, 22, 771–783. https://doi.org/10.1006/jado.1999.0269.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  32. Padilla-Walker, L. M., & Nelson, L. J. (2012). Black hawk down?: Establishing helicopter parenting as a distinct construct from other forms of parental control during emerging adulthood. Journal of Adolescence, 35, 1177–1190. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.adolescence.2012.03.007.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  33. Patock-Peckham, J. A., Cheong, J., Balhorn, M. E., & Nagoshi, C. T. (2001). A social learning perspective: A model of parenting styles, self-regulation, perceived drinking control, and alcohol use and problems. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 25, 1284–1292. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1530-0277.2001.tb02349.x.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Roth, G., Assor, A., Niemiec, C. P., Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2009). The emotional and academic consequences of parental conditional regard: Comparing conditional positive regard, conditional negative regard, and autonomy support as parenting practices. Developmental Psychology, 45, 1119–1130. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0015272.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  35. Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being. American Psychologist, 55, 68–80. https://doi.org/10.1037/0003-066X.55.1.68.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  36. Schafer, J. L. (1997). Analysis of incomplete multivariate data. Boca Raton, FL: CRC.

    Google Scholar 

  37. Schiffrin, H. H., Liss, M., Miles-Mclean, H., Geary, K. A., Erchull, M. J., & Tashner, T. (2013). Helping or hovering? The effects of helicopter parenting on college students’ well-being. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 23, 548–557. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-013-9716-3.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  38. Segrin, C., Givertz, M., Swaitkowski, P., & Montgomery, N. (2015). Overparenting is associated with child problems and a critical family environment. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 24, 470–479. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-013-9858-3.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  39. Segrin, C., Woszidlo, A., Givertz, M., & Montgomery, N. (2013). Parent and child traits associated with overparenting. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 32, 569–595. https://doi.org/10.1521/jscp.2013.32.6.569.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  40. Tangney, J. P., Baumeister, R. F., & Boone, A. L. (2004). High self-control predicts good adjustment, less pathology, better grades, and interpersonal success. Journal of Personality, 72, 271–324. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.0022-3506.2004.00263.x.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  41. Tice, D. M., & Bratslavsky, E. (2000). Giving in to feel good: The place of emotion regulation in the context of general self-control. Psychological Inquiry, 11, 149–159. https://doi.org/10.1207/S15327965PLI1103_03.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  42. Turner, E. A., Chandler, M., & Heffer, R. W. (2009). The influence of parenting styles, achievement motivation, and self-efficacy on academic performance in college students. Journal of College Student Development, 50, 337–346. https://doi.org/10.1353/csd.0.0073.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  43. van Ingen, D. J., Freiheit, S. R., Steinfeldt, J. A., Moore, L. L., Wimer, D. J., Knutt, A. D., … Roberts, A. (2015). Helicopter parenting: The effect of an overbearing caregiving style on peer attachment and self-efficacy. Journal of College Counseling, 18, 7–20. https://doi.org/10.1002/j.2161-1882.2015.00065.x.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  44. Wechsler, H., Dowdall, G. W., Davenport, A., & Rimm, E. B. (1995). A gender-specific measure of binge drinking among college students. American Journal of Public Health, 85, 982–985. https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.85.7.982.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Ming Cui.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Cui, M., Allen, J.W., Fincham, F.D. et al. Helicopter Parenting, Self-regulatory Processes, and Alcohol Use among Female College Students. J Adult Dev 26, 97–104 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10804-018-9301-5

Download citation

Keywords

  • Alcohol use
  • College students
  • Helicopter parenting
  • Psychological needs
  • Self-control