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Parental Indulgence: Profiles and Relations to College Students’ Emotional and Behavioral Problems


Research on indulgent parenting and its relation to college students is both limited and inconsistent. Further, all the studies have used a variable-centered approach. To fill the gap in the current literature, the aims of this study were to explore profiles of parental indulgence and their associations with college students’ emotional and behavioral problems. The sample in this study consisted of college students from two universities. Participants were asked to take an online survey about their perceptions of their parents’ indulgent parenting practice and their own well-being. Results from latent profile analyses suggested distinct profiles of parental indulgence for mothers and fathers. Further, these profiles demonstrated differential associations with college students’ anxiety and depressive symptoms, emotional dysregulation, and alcohol use. Implications were also noted.

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This project was supported by a grant from the National Council on Family Relations Innovation Grant Program. Opinions, findings, conclusion or recommendations expressed within this work do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Council on Family Relations.


This study was funded by the National Council on Family Relations Innovation Grant Program.

Author Contributions

M.C.: designed and executed the study, performed data analyses, and wrote the manuscript. C.A.D.: collaborated with the design of the study and editing of the manuscript. M.L.G.: assisted with the data analyses and manuscript editing. F.D.F.: collaborated in the editing of the manuscript. R.W.M.: assisted with data collection and editing of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Ming Cui.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in this study involving human subjects were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. This study was approved by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) of Florida State University.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Cui, M., Darling, C.A., Lucier-Greer, M. et al. Parental Indulgence: Profiles and Relations to College Students’ Emotional and Behavioral Problems. J Child Fam Stud 27, 2456–2466 (2018).

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  • College students
  • Emotional and behavioral problems
  • Indulgent parenting