Overparenting is Associated with Child Problems and a Critical Family Environment

Abstract

Overparenting involves the application of developmentally inappropriate parenting tactics that far exceed the actual needs of adolescents and emerging adults. Past research as well as elements of self-determination theory suggest that this type of parenting should be associated with greater child problems in relation to other people and a more critical family environment. These hypotheses were tested on 477 emerging adult child-parent dyads from 30 of the 50 United States who both completed self-report measures of overparenting and elements of a critical family environment. In addition, emerging adults completed self-reports of problems, primarily in relation to other people, and how they cope with them. Results of a structural equation model indicated that the child, but not parent, overparenting latent variable was strongly associated with reports of more child problems. Both the emerging adult child and parent overparenting latent variables were positively and significantly associated with the critical family environment latent variable. These results can be usefully explained by several postulates of self-determination theory and add to a growing literature pointing to the ill effects of overparenting when applied to emerging adults.

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Correspondence to Chris Segrin.

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Segrin, C., Givertz, M., Swaitkowski, P. et al. Overparenting is Associated with Child Problems and a Critical Family Environment. J Child Fam Stud 24, 470–479 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-013-9858-3

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Keywords

  • Overparenting
  • Helicopter parenting
  • Anxious parenting
  • Expressed emotion
  • Coping