Helicopter parenting has emerged as a prevalent phenomenon in families with adult children. Due to its developmentally inappropriate nature, helicopter parenting sometimes serves as a risk factor for children. In addition, culture and parents’ gender shape parenting and adult children’s outcomes. The purpose of the present study was to identify multidimensional constructs of helicopter parenting among college students and describe how latent classes of helicopter parenting of mothers and fathers are related to college students’ game and social media addictive behaviors in the United States and China. Using a three-step latent class approach, data from 1402 mother and young-adult child (MC) and 1225 father and young-adult child (FC) pairs in the United States and 527 MC and 426 FC pairs in China were analyzed. Four helicopter parenting latent classes (strong, strong but weak direct intervention, weak but strong academic management, and weak) were identified among MC and FC pairs in the United States, but three latent classes (strong, strong but weak direct intervention, and weak) were identified in China. In addition, college students whose parents were in the strong helicopter parenting class reported a higher level of game and social media addictive behaviors than those in weak and weak but strong academic management classes in the United States, but not in China. These findings indicate that helicopter parenting is multidimensional in nature in both American and Chinese families, but the impact of helicopter parenting on college students’ game and social media addictive behaviors differs between the two countries.
Provides detailed explanation of a multidimensional construct of helicopter parenting using a person-centered approach.
Provides the latest evidence of the association between helicopter parenting and college students’ game and social media addictive behaviors in the United States and China on the basis of primary data.
Expands the spectrum of helicopter parenting research as well as opening the door for future cross-cultural studies for those who are interested in the effects of helicopter parenting on college students’ risk behaviors.
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Hwang, W., Jung, E., Fu, X. et al. Typologies of Helicopter Parenting in American and Chinese Young-Adults’ Game and Social Media Addictive Behaviors. J Child Fam Stud 31, 1030–1044 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-021-02213-w