Indirect Effects of Overparenting and Family Communication Patterns on Mental Health of Emerging Adults in China and the United States

Chris Segrin, Jian Jiao, Jingyu Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

According to self-determination theory, the satisfaction of basic psychological needs (i.e., autonomy, competence, relatedness) is essential for human mental health and flourishing. This process was hypothesized to be impeded by overparenting (a.k.a. helicopter parenting) and maladaptive family communication patterns. Therefore, a series of indirect effects was tested from overparenting and family communication patterns to emerging adults’ mental health and environmental mastery through psychological needs satisfaction. These effects were tested with data from 282 U.S. and 281 Chinese university student participants who completed an online questionnaire. The results showed that overparenting was positively associated with family conformity orientation and negatively associated with family conversation orientation. There were significant indirect effects from overparenting and family conversation orientation to emerging adults’ mental health (depression and anxiety) and environmental mastery. These findings point to hindered psychological needs satisfaction as a potential mechanism that links overparenting and family conversation orientation to emerging adults’ psychological distress or well-being.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Adult Development
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Keywords

  • Environmental mastery
  • Helicopter parenting
  • Mental health
  • Overparenting
  • Self-determination theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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