Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 28, Issue 4, pp 1071–1083 | Cite as

Parental Control for Latinas and Non-Latinas: Implications for Emerging Adult Mental Health

  • Aya ShigetoEmail author
  • Joseph G. Grzywacz
  • Ming Cui
Original Paper



The overall goal of this study was to develop a stronger understanding of the role of culture in shaping the experience of parental control and its mental health implications for emerging adults. Specifically, the study focused parental psychological and behavioral control, and their potential implications for emerging adults’ hopelessness and depressive symptoms. A core hypothesis is that associations of parental control with mental health would differ between Latinas and non-Latinas because of cultural differences in parental expectations and parent-child dynamics. Additionally, similarities and differences in the role of mothers’ and fathers’ control were explored.


The sample consisted of 330 female emerging adults, including 146 Latinas and 184 non-Latinas. Participants completed questionnaires assessing their perceptions of parental psychological and behavioral control, of mothers and fathers separately, and mental health indicators.


Results from path models demonstrated the relevance of mothers’ psychological control for both Latinas and non-Latinas, while differential implications of mothers’ behavioral control were found for Latinas and non-Latinas. In addition, mothers’ psychological control appeared to be more salient than fathers’ psychological control for female emerging adults’ mental health.


The role of culture in the function of parental control for emerging adults’ mental health is discussed.


Depressive symptoms Emerging adulthood Hopelessness Latino culture Parental control 


Author Contributions

A.S. designed and executed the study, assisted with the data analyses, and wrote the manuscript. J.G. collaborated with the design and writing of the manuscript. M.C. analyzed the data, wrote part of the results, and provided feedback on the manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in this study were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Institutional Review Board (IRB) of Nova Southeastern University as well as with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

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


  1. Abaied, J. L., & Emond, C. (2013). Parent psychological control and responses to interpersonal stress in emerging adulthood: moderating effects of behavioral inhibition and behavioral activation. Emerging Adulthood, 1, 258–270. Scholar
  2. Arbuckle, J. L. (2014). Amos 23.0 User’s Guide. Chicago: IBM SPSS.Google Scholar
  3. Arnett, J. J. (2000). Emerging adulthood: a theory of development from the late teens through the twenties. American Psychologist, 55, 469–480. Scholar
  4. Barber, B. K., Stolz, H. E., Olsen, J. A., Collins, A., & Burchinal, M. (2005). Parental support, psychological control, and behavioral control: Assessing relevance across time, culture, and method. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 70, 1–147.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Baumrind, D. (1967). Child care practices anteceding three patterns of preschool behavior. Genetic Psychology Monographs, 75, 43–88.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Bean, R. A., & Northrup, J. C. (2009). Parental psychological control, psychological autonomy, and acceptance as predictors of self-esteem in Latino adolescents. Journal of Family Issues, 30, 1486–1504. Scholar
  7. Bean, R. A., Barber, B. K., & Crane, D. R. (2006). Parental support, behavioral control, and psychological control among African American youth: the relationships to academic grades, delinquency, and depression. Journal of Family Issues, 27, 1335–1355. Scholar
  8. Bean, R. A., Bush, K. R., McKenry, P. C., & Wilson, S. M. (2003). The impact of parental support, behavioral control, and psychological control on the academic achievement and self-esteem of African American and European American adolescents. Journal of Adolescent Research, 18, 523–541. Scholar
  9. Beck, A. T., Steer, R. A., & Brown, G. K. (1996). Manual for Beck Depression Inventory-II. San Antonio: Psychological Corporation.Google Scholar
  10. Beck, A. T., Weissman, A., Lester, D., & Trexler, L. (1974). The measurement of pessimism: the hopelessness scale. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 42, 861–865. Scholar
  11. Bernier, A., Larose, S., Boivin, M., & Soucy, N. (2004). Attachment state of mind: implications for adjustment to college. Journal of Adolescent Research, 19, 783–806. Scholar
  12. Bornstein, M. H. (2012). Cultural approaches to parenting. Parenting, 12, 212–221. Scholar
  13. Castillo, L. G., Perez, F. V., Castillo, R., & Ghosheh, M. R. (2010). Construction and initial validation of the Marianismo Beliefs Scale. Counselling Psychology Quarterly, 23, 163–175. Scholar
  14. Center for Collegiate Mental Health. (2016). Center for Collegiate Mental Health (CCMH): 2016 annual report. University Park: Penn State University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2018). Sexually transmitted disease surveillance 2017. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.Google Scholar
  16. Chao, R. K. (1994). Beyond parental control and authoritarian parenting style: understanding Chinese parenting through the cultural notion of training. Child Development, 65, 1111–1119. Scholar
  17. Conger, R. D., Conger, K. J., & Martin, M. J. (2010). Socioeconomic status, family processes, and individual development. Journal of Marriage and Family, 72, 685–704. Scholar
  18. Crockett, L. J., Brown, J. R., Iturbide, M. I., Russell, S. T., & Wilkinson-Lee, A. M. (2009). Conceptions of good parent–adolescent relationships among Cuban American teenagers. Sex Roles, 60, 575–587. Scholar
  19. Darlow, V., Norvilitis, J. M., & Schuetze, P. (2017). The relationship between helicopter parenting and adjustment to college. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 26, 2291–2298. Scholar
  20. Dishion, T. J., & Loeber, R. (1985). Adolescent marijuana and alcohol use: the role of parents and peers revisited. The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 11, 11–25.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Dunleavy, K. N., Wanzer, M. B., Krezmien, E., & Ruppel, K. (2011). Daughters’ perceptions of communication with their fathers: the role of skill similarity and co-orientation in relationship satisfaction. Communication Studies, 62, 581–596. Scholar
  22. Fingerman, K. L., Cheng, Y. P., Tighe, L., Birditt, K. S., & Zarit, S. (2012). Relationships between young adults and their Parents. In A. Booth, S. Brown, N. Landale, W. Manning & S. McHale (Eds), Early adulthood in a family context. National Symposium on Family Issues, (Vol. 2 pp. 59–85). New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  23. Finkelstein, J. A. S., Donenberg, G. R., & Martinovich, Z. (2001). Maternal control and adolescent depression: ethnic differences among clinically referred girls. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 30, 155–171. Scholar
  24. Fletcher, A. C., Steinberg, L., & Williams‐Wheeler, M. (2004). Parental influences on adolescent problem behavior: revisiting Stattin and Kerr. Child Development, 75, 781–796. Scholar
  25. Georgas, J., Berry, J. W., van de Vijver, F. J. R., Kağitçibaşi, C., & Poortinga, Y. H. (2006). Families across cultures: A 30-nation psychological study. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. González, H. M., Tarraf, W., Whitfield, K. E., & Vega, W. A. (2010). The epidemiology of major depression and ethnicity in the United States. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 44, 1043–1051. Scholar
  27. Gore, S., & Aseltine, Jr., R. H. (2003). Race and ethnic differences in depressed mood following the transition from high school. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 44, 370–389. Scholar
  28. Gray, M. R., & Steinberg, L. (1999). Unpacking authoritative parenting: reassessing a multidimensional construct. Journal of Marriage and Family, 61, 574–587. Scholar
  29. Grolnick, W. S. (2003). The psychology of parental control: How well-meant parenting backfires. Mahwah: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  30. Grolnick, W. S., & Pomerantz, E. M. (2009). Issues and challenges in studying parental control: toward a new conceptualization. Child Development Perspectives, 3, 165–170. Scholar
  31. Guarnaccia, P. J., Martinez, I., & Acosta, H. (2005). Chapter 2. Mental health in the Hispanic immigrant community: an overview. Journal of Immigrant & Refugee Services, 3, 21–46. Scholar
  32. Halgunseth, L. C., Ispa, J. M., & Rudy, D. (2006). Parental control in Latino families: an integrated review of the literature. Child Development, 77, 1282–1297. Scholar
  33. Han, X. Y., & Shek, D. T. (2012). Socio-demographic and family correlates of hopelessness among adolescents in Shanghai, China. International Journal on Disability and Human Development, 11, 113–119. Scholar
  34. Hare, A. L., Szwedo, D. E., Schad, M. M., & Allen, J. P. (2015). Undermining adolescent autonomy with parents and peers: the enduring implications of psychologically controlling parenting. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 25, 739–752. Scholar
  35. Hofstede, G. (2001). Culture’s consequences: Comparing values, behaviors, institutions, and organizations across cultures. Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
  36. IBM Corp. (2017). IBM SPSS Statistics for Windows, Version 25.0. Armonk: IBM Corp.Google Scholar
  37. Kenny, M. E., & Sirin, S. R. (2006). Parental attachment, self‐worth, and depressive symptoms among emerging adults. Journal of Counseling & Development, 84, 61–71. Scholar
  38. Kline, G. C., Killoren, S. E., & Alfaro, E. C. (2016). Perceived parental psychological control, familism values, and Mexican American college students’ adjustment. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 22, 524–532. Scholar
  39. Kline, R. B. (2005). Principles and practices of structural equation modeling. 2nd edn. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  40. Kouros, C. D., Pruitt, M. M., Ekas, N. V., Kiriaki, R., & Sunderland, M. (2017). Helicopter parenting, autonomy support, and college students’ mental health and well-being: the moderating role of sex and ethnicity. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 26, 939–949. Scholar
  41. Lansford, J. E., Laird, R. D., Pettit, G. S., Bates, J. E., & Dodge, K. A. (2014). Mothers’ and fathers’ autonomy-relevant parenting: longitudinal links with adolescents’ externalizing and internalizing behavior. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 43, 1877–1889. Scholar
  42. Larson, R. W., Richards, M. H., Moneta, G., Holmbeck, G., & Duckett, E. (1996). Changes in adolescents’ daily interactions with their families from ages 10 to 18: disengagement and transformation. Developmental Psychology, 32, 744–754. Scholar
  43. Lindell, A. K., Campione-Barr, N., & Killoren, S. E. (2017). Implications of parent-child relationships for emerging adults’ subjective feelings about adulthood. Journal of Family Psychology, 31, 810–820. Scholar
  44. Luis, T. M., Varela, R. E., & Moore, K. W. (2008). Parenting practices and childhood anxiety reporting in Mexican, Mexican American, and European American families. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 22, 1011–1020. Scholar
  45. Lythcott-Haims, J. (2015). How to raise an adult: Break free of the overparenting trap and prepare your kid for success. New York: Henry Holt and Company.Google Scholar
  46. Mahmoud, J. S. R., Staten, R. T., Hall, L. A., & Lennie, T. A. (2012). The relationship among young adult college students’ depression, anxiety, stress, demographics, life satisfaction, and coping styles. Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 33, 149–156. Scholar
  47. Mason, C. A., Walker-Barnes, C. J., Tu, S., Simons, J., & Martinez-Arrue, R. (2004). Ethnic differences in the affective meaning of parental control behaviors. The Journal of Primary Prevention, 25, 59–79. Scholar
  48. Minuchin, S. (1974). Families and family therapy. Oxford: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  49. Musu-Gillette, L., de Brey, C., McFarland, J., Hussar, W., Sonnenberg, W., & Wilkinson-Flicker, S. (2017). Status and trends in the education of racial and ethnic groups 2017 (NCES 2017-051). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics.Google Scholar
  50. Myers, H. F., Lesser, I., Rodriguez, N., Mira, C. B., Hwang, W. C., Camp, C., & Wohl, M. (2002). Ethnic differences in clinical presentation of depression in adult women. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 8, 138–156. Scholar
  51. 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. Scholar
  52. Padilla-Walker, L. M., Nelson, L. J., & Knapp, D. J. (2014). “Because I’m still the parent, that’s why!” Parental legitimate authority during emerging adulthood. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 31, 293–313. Scholar
  53. Pew Research Center. (2016, July 28). 5 facts about Latinos and education.
  54. Plunkett, S. W., & Bámaca-Gómez, M. Y. (2003). The relationship between parenting, acculturation, and adolescent academics in Mexican-origin immigrant families in Los Angeles. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 25, 222–239. Scholar
  55. Plunkett, S. W., Williams, S. M., Schock, A. M., & Sands, T. (2007). Parenting and adolescent self-esteem in Latino intact families, stepfather families, and single-mother families. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 47, 1–20. Scholar
  56. Raffaelli, M., & Ontai, L. L. (2001). “She’s 16 years old and there’s boys calling over to the house”: an exploratory study of sexual socialization in Latino families. Culture, Health, and Sexuality, 3, 295–310. Scholar
  57. Raffaelli, M., & Ontai, L. L. (2004). Gender socialization in Latino/a families: results from two retrospective studies. Sex Roles, 50, 287–299. Scholar
  58. Reed, K., Duncan, J. M., Lucier-Greer, M., Fixelle, C., & Ferraro, A. J. (2016). Helicopter parenting and emerging adult self-efficacy: implications for mental and physical health. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 25, 3136–3149. Scholar
  59. Reed, K., Ferraro, A. J., Lucier-Greer, M., & Barber, C. (2015). Adverse family influences on emerging adult depressive symptoms: a stress process approach to identifying intervention points. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 24, 2710–2720. Scholar
  60. Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being. American Psychologist, 55, 68–78. 10.1037110003-066X.55.1.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  61. Schaefer, E. S. (1965). A configurational analysis of children’s reports of parent behavior. Journal of Consulting Psychology, 29, 552–557.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  62. Schafer, J. L. (1997). Analysis of incomplete multivariate data. New York: Chapman and Hall.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Schiffrin, H. H., & Liss, M. (2017). The effects of helicopter parenting on academic motivation. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 26, 1472–1480. Scholar
  64. Schiffrin, H. H., Liss, M., Miles-McLean, H., Geary, K. A., Erchull, M. J., & Tashner, T. (2014). Helping or hovering? The effects of helicopter parenting on college students’ well-being. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 23, 548–557. Scholar
  65. Schludermann, E., & Schludermann, S. (1970). Replicability of factors in children’s report of parent behavior (CRPBI). The Journal of Psychology, 76, 239–249.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Schludermann, S., & Schludermann, E. (1988). Questionnaire for children and youth (CRPBI-30). Winnipeg: University of Manitoba.Google Scholar
  67. Schon, J. (2014). “Dad doesn’t text.” Examining how parents’ use of information communication technologies influences satisfaction among emerging adult children. Emerging Adulthood, 2, 304–312. Scholar
  68. Seibel, F. L., & Johnson, W. B. (2001). Parental control, trait anxiety, and satisfaction with life in college students. Psychological Reports, 88, 473–480. Scholar
  69. Shek, D. T. L. (2007). A longitudinal study of perceived parental psychological control and psychological well‐being in Chinese adolescents in Hong Kong. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 63, 1–22. Scholar
  70. Shek, D. T. L., & Lee, T. Y. (2005). Hopelessness and Chinese adolescents in Hong Kong: demographic and family correlates. International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health, 17, 279–290. Scholar
  71. Sher-Censor, E., Parke, R. D., & Coltrane, S. (2011). Parents’ promotion of psychological autonomy, psychological control, and Mexican–American adolescents’ adjustment. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 40, 620–632. Scholar
  72. Silk, J. S., Morris, A. S., Kanaya, T., & Steinberg, L. (2003). Psychological control and autonomy granting: opposite ends of a continuum or distinct constructs? Journal of Research on Adolescence, 13, 113–128. Scholar
  73. Soucy, N., & Larose, S. (2000). Attachment and control in family and mentoring contexts as determinants of adolescent adjustment to college. Journal of Family Psychology, 14, 125–143. Scholar
  74. Taylor, B. A., & Behnke, A. (2005). Fathering across the border: Latino fathers in Mexico and the U.S. Fathering, 3, 99–120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Toth, Jr., J. F., & Xu, X. (1999). Ethnic and cultural diversity in fathers’ involvement: a racial/ethnic comparison of African American, Hispanic, and White fathers. Youth & Society, 31, 76–99. Scholar
  76. Varela, R. E., Vernberg, E. M., Sanchez-Sosa, J. J., Riveros, A., Mitchell, M., & Mashunkashey, J. (2004). Parenting style of Mexican, Mexican American, and Caucasian-non-Hispanic families: social context and cultural influences. Journal of Family Psychology, 18, 651 Scholar
  77. Villarruel, A. M. (1998). Cultural influences on the sexual attitudes, beliefs, and norms of young Latina adolescents. Journal for Specialists in Pediatric Nursing, 3, 69–79. Scholar
  78. Way, N., & Gillman, D. A. (2000). Early adolescent girls’ perceptions of their relationships with their fathers: a qualitative investigation. The Journal of Early Adolescence, 20, 309–331. Scholar
  79. Williams, J., & Best, D. (1990). Measuring sex stereotypes: A multination study. Beverly Hills: Sage.Google Scholar
  80. Williams, J., & Best, D. (1994). Cross-cultural views of women and men. In W. Lonner & R. Malpass (Eds), Psychology and culture. Boston: Allyn & Bacon. 191–196.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, College of PsychologyNova Southeastern UniversityFort LauderdaleUSA
  2. 2.Department of Family and Child Sciences, College of Human SciencesFlorida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA

Personalised recommendations