Is helicopter parenting related to college students’ mental health? A typological and cross-cultural approach

Woosang Hwang, Eunjoo Jung, Xiaoyu Fu, Yue Zhang, Kwangman Ko, Sun A. Lee, Youn Mi Lee, Soyoung Lee, Hyun Kyung You, Youngjin Kang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: The goal of this study is to uncover latent classes of maternal and paternal helicopter parenting among American and Chinese college students, and to examine whether latent classes of maternal and paternal helicopter parenting are related to college students’ mental health (depression and self-esteem). Background: Previous studies have examined the association between helicopter parenting and college students’ well-being. However, less is known about how the multidimensional construct of helicopter parenting is related to college students’ mental health across Western and Eastern cultural contexts. Method: We conducted three-step latent class analyses using nine helicopter parenting indicators for 1,386 mother–child and 1,214 father–child groups in the United States and 520 mother–child and 454 father–child groups in China. Next, we tested the association between the class membership of maternal and paternal helicopter parenting and college students’ mental health. Results: We identified distinct helicopter parenting latent classes among four American and Chinese parent–child groups. We also found that American college students in the strong maternal helicopter parenting latent class reported poorer mental health than those in other latent classes. Conclusion: Our findings indicate that the multidimensional construct of helicopter parenting can be interpreted differently by parents and college-aged children according to their social and cultural contexts. Implications: The findings of this study suggest that it is necessary to strengthen understanding of the multidimensional construct of helicopter parenting for parents with college-aged children to enable them to develop more appropriate parenting practices as well as support their children's well-being.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2215-2233
Number of pages19
JournalFamily Relations
Volume72
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2023

Keywords

  • China
  • college students
  • health
  • helicopter parenting
  • latent class analysis
  • the United States

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