Moderating the Association Between Overparenting and Mental Health: Open Family Communication and Emerging Adult Children’s Trait Autonomy

Jian Jiao, Chris Segrin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Research shows that overparenting (a.k.a. helicopter parenting) is associated with many child issues, among which disrupted mental health is one of the most consistently observed. The present study aims to examine if open family communication and child trait autonomy alter the associations between overparenting and emerging adult children’s general self-efficacy, environmental mastery, anxiety, and depression. Cross-sectional data were collected from college students (N = 442, M age = 20.28 years, SD = 1.48) in the United States. Results showed that open family communication strengthened the negative association between overparenting and environmental mastery, and trait autonomy weakened the negative association between overparenting and general self-efficacy. None of these two moderators altered the associations between overparenting and child anxiety and depression. The effects of open family communication and trait autonomy in a controlling context are discussed. Overall, notwithstanding the moderation effects observed from open family communication and trait autonomy, the findings suggest that the effects of overparenting might be difficult to buffer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)652-662
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Child and Family Studies
Volume32
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2023

Keywords

  • Emerging adulthood
  • Helicopter parenting
  • Mental health
  • Open family communication
  • Overparenting
  • Trait autonomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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