Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 23, Issue 3, pp 548–557 | Cite as

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

  • Holly H. Schiffrin
  • Miriam Liss
  • Haley Miles-McLean
  • Katherine A. Geary
  • Mindy J. Erchull
  • Taryn Tashner
Original Paper

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 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Holly H. Schiffrin
    • 1
  • Miriam Liss
    • 1
  • Haley Miles-McLean
    • 1
  • Katherine A. Geary
    • 1
  • Mindy J. Erchull
    • 1
  • Taryn Tashner
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Mary WashingtonFredericksburgUSA

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