Are you a helicopter parent? Research shows you may be giving your kids anxiety, depression and diminishing their self-directedness.
Helicopter Parents and Anxiety
Overprotective moms associated with higher level of anxiety
Care and overprotection appear to reflect the principal dimensions underlying parental behaviours and attitudes. In previous studies of neurotically depressed patients and of a non-clinical group, subjects who scored their parents as lacking in care and/or overprotective had the greater depressive experience. The present study of another non-clinical group (289 psychology students) replicated those findings in regard to trait depression levels. In addition, associations between those parental dimensions and trait anxiety scores were demonstrated. Multiple regression analyses established that 9–10% of the variance in mood scores was accounted for by scores on those parental dimensions. Low maternal care scores predicted higher levels of both anxiety and depression, while high maternal overprotection scores predicted higher levels of anxiety but not levels of depression. Maternal influences were clearly of greater relevance than paternal influences.
Kids with social anxiety more likely to have controlling dads
This study examined associations among perceived and actual father behavior and child social anxiety. Forty-eight children (22 high socially anxious, 26 low socially anxious) completed self-report measures of social anxiety, general anxiety, and depression. Children also completed a measure of perceived parental style and subsequently collaborated with their fathers on a challenging task (origami). After controlling for general anxiety and depression, fathers of high socially anxious children exhibited more controlling behavior during the origami task; high and low socially anxious children, however, did not differ behaviorally from one another.
Social phobia associated with having overprotective parents
The perceived parental rearing practices and attitudes of agoraphobics, social phobics and non-patient normal controls were investigated, employing the EMBU, an inventory for assessing memories of upbringing. Findings obtained previously with out-patients were replicated with in-patients as subjects. Compared with the controls, agoraphobics rated both their parents as having been less emotionally warm but only their mothers as having been rejective. Socially phobic in-patients rated both their parents as having been rejective, as having lacked emotional warmth, and as having been overprotective. Comparisons between agoraphobics and social phobics showed differences in certain aspects of parental rearing, with the socially phobic in-patients assigning ratings more negatively than the agoraphobic group.
Overprotective mothers associated with social phobia
The clinical impression that phobic patients perceive their parents as being uncaring and overprotective was investigated in a controlled study of eighty-one phobic patients. Those assigned to a social phobic group scored both parents as less caring and as overprotected, while those assigned to an agoraphobic group differed from controls only in reporting less maternal care. Intensity of phobic symptoms in the pooled sample was examined in a separate analysis. Higher agoraphobic scores were associated with less maternal care and less maternal overprotection, while higher social phobic scores were associated with greater maternal care and greater maternal overprotection.
Panic disorder associated with loving but controlling parents
Previous studies using the Parental Bonding Instrument have shown a general trend for neurotic subjects to score their parents as less caring and more protective. Such a finding was broadly replicated in a study of 80 clinically anxious subjects and age- and sex-matched controls. Logistic regression analyses revealed higher odds ratios for parental assignment to aberrant categories in the generalized anxiety group, with panic disorder patients reporting a more limited pattern of overprotective parenting only. Our findings suggest that adverse parental behaviour may be relevant to the pathogenesis of generalized anxiety, while parental ‘affectionate constraint’ may be a parental response to early manifestations of panic disorder.
Timidity and approval seeking associated with loving but controlling parenting
The effects of dysfunctional parenting styles on interpersonal sensitivity were studied in 640 Japanese volunteers. Males with paternal affectionless control showed higher total IPSM scores than those with paternal optimal parenting. Females with maternal affectionate constraint, neglectful parenting, and affectionless control showed higher total interpersonal sensitivity scores than those with maternal optimal parenting. In males and females, dysfunctional parenting styles by the opposite-sex parents did not affected total scores. The present study suggests that in both males and females interpersonal sensitivity is increased by dysfunctional parenting styles by the same-sex parents.
Overprotective parenting associated with child’s future anxious, depressive and aggressive behaviors
Clinicians often identify parent-child relationships that are believed to be problematic for the child’s future emotional growth, yet there are minimal outcome data on which to base anticipatory guidance. This 2-year follow-up study examined the child behavioral correlates of parental perceptions of increased child vulnerability and parental overprotection. High perceived vulnerability at enrollment was significantly associated with both internalizing (somatic complaints, anxious/depressed) and externalizing (aggressive) behaviors at follow-up. A history of overprotection in the parent’s childhood was not associated with current parental report of overprotective behaviors toward the child.
Helicopter Parents and Depression
Twins study finds link between overprotective parents and anxiety and depression, diminishing genetic cause
A study of monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins was undertaken to assess further the properties of the Parental Bonding Instrument (PBI), a self-report measure of parental care and overprotection, to examine for associations between PBI and mood (trait anxiety and depression) scores, and to assess the genetic contribution to anxiety and depression scores. Mean correlations on the PBI scales were high and strikingly similar for the MZ and DZ twin pairs, supporting the construct validity of the PBI as a measure of parental characteristics. Higher mood scores were linked with less parental care and greater parental protection, the associations being stronger with anxiety than depression. Finally, methodological limitations in estimating heritability are noted.
Controlling parenting linked to low self-esteem and depression
The present study examined the relationship between parental care and control perceived by Korean–American adolescents, and further investigated the relationships between parental attachment styles and mental health measures including self-esteem, depression, and social support. The relationship between parental care and parental control resulted in a significantly negative correlation. Parental care showed significantly positive correlations with self-esteem and social support, and a negative correlation with depression. Parental control showed a significantly negative correlation with self-esteem, and a significantly positive correlation with depression. The analysis demonstrated that optimal parenting showed significantly higher self-esteem, lower depression, and higher social support than the other groups.
Having overprotective parents associated with neurotic depression
Low parental care and parental overprotection have been incriminated as risk factors to depression in adult life. The relevance of these parental characteristics to broad depressive ‘types’ with their varying imputed aetiologies was assessed by having 26 patients with endogenous depression (ED) and 40 with neurotic depression (ND) complete the Parental Bonding Instrument (PBI) self-measure. In comparison to their controls, the EDs did not differ on the parental care and overprotection scales. The NDs, by contrast, were more likely than their controls to report their parents as uncaring and overprotective. A PBI care scale score of less than 10 was particularly discriminating, being reported by 3.8% of the EDs and 37.5% of the NDs. While findings support the binary view of depression in terms of broad imputed aetiological factors, several response biases which might influence the findings are considered.
Depression linked with overprotective moms
Varying levels of depression in a clinical group did not influence scores on a self-report measure of parental characteristics, the Parental Bonding Instrument (PBI). Subjects’ scores on the PBI (i.e. perceived parental characteristics) correlated significantly with scores returned by family observers and judges in 2 separate studies, supporting the validity of the PBI as a measure of actual parental characteristics. Depression scores in subjects were strongly linked with lower maternal care and with maternal overprotection, whether the maternal characteristics were judged by the subjects or by the mothers themselves. There was no evidence to support the view that those with marked dependency traits elicit different parental responses.
Overprotective dads associated with depression in females
Analyses using the three new Parental Bonding Instrument dimensions provided some evidence that overprotective aspects of parenting may also be associated with a lifetime history of depression (a higher score on paternal denial of the psychological autonomy dimension predicted a lifetime history of depression in female subjects). Conclusion: Evidence for an association between overprotective aspects of child-rearing behavior and a lifetime history of depression can be newly recognized using the three new PBI dimensions.
Overprotective moms associated with neurotic depression
Using a reliable and valid measure of reported parental care and overprotection (the Parental Bonding Instrument) patients with two types of depressive disorder were compared with a control group, and the relationships to depressive experience examined in a non-clinical group as well. Bipolar manic-depressive patients scored like controls whereas neurotic depressives reported less parental care and greater maternal overprotection. Depressive experience in the non-clinical group was negatively associated with low parental care and weakly associated with parental overprotection.
Insufficient affection combined with overprotection is a risk factor for neurotic disorder
The proposition that research should be directed more toward assessing qualitative aspects of parent-child relationships is addressed, and the paper summarises aspects of a number of co-ordinated studies. The development and properties of the Parental Bonding Instrument are described and its application in studies of patients with designated psychiatric disorders considered. The measure delineates a parental style of ‘affectionless control’ (involving insufficient care and overprotection), which appears to be a risk factor to neurotic disorder in particular, and the possible nature of the risk factor is discussed.
Helicopter Parents and Extreme Effects
Inmates more likely than non-offenders to have loving but controlling parents
This work analyzes the correlation of retrospective ratings on parental binding with cognitive patterns in the inmates for property crimes. The instruments used were the Parental Bonding Instrument (PBI), and the Young Schema Questionnaire-3 (YSQ). The preliminary analysis showed a high percentage of offenders who experienced an affectionate constraint parenting. Offenders scored significantly higher than the non-offenders on the level of paternal control and the YSQ subscales.
Juvenile delinquents more likely to have overprotective parents
This study examined differences in perceptions of parental attitudes and behaviours throughout childhood among adolescent delinquents and their matched controls. Male delinquents perceived both parents to be less caring and more protective than did nondelinquents. Female delinquents also perceived their parents as overprotective.
Overprotective parents implicated in alcohol and heroin addiction
Alcoholics and heroin addicts were compared with a normal control group to determine whether there were differences in quality of parenting during childhood, assessed using the Parental Bonding Instrument. Maternal and paternal overprotection were reported more commonly by narcotic addicts. Maternal overprotection alone was implicated in alcoholics. Narcotic addicts seem to have more disturbed parenting than alcoholics, especially paternal parenting.
Affectionless control parenting style doubles risk of suicidal thoughts in teens, increases risk of depression 5-fold
This study investigated relationships between parenting style and suicidal thoughts, acts and depression. Students (mean age 15 years) from 4 randomly chosen high schools completed self-report questionnaires containing the Parental Bonding Instrument (PBI) and the Youth Self Report, which provided information about suicide ideation, deliberate self-harm and depression. Assignment by adolescents of their parents to the “affectionless control” quadrant of the PBI doubles the relative risk for suicidal thoughts, increases the relative risk for deliberate self-harm 3-fold and increases the relative risk for depression 5-fold. It seems that the PBI may play a role in identification of vulnerable adolescents; further, it both elucidates aspects of adolescent-parent interaction and points toward areas for intervention with at-risk adolescents. We recommend the use of the PBI in early detection studies of adolescent suicide.
Helicopter Parents and Other Effects
Overprotective parenting associated with lower self-directedness and higher harm avoidance in children
Influences of parental rearing on the personality traits of healthy subjects were studied in 323 Japanese volunteers. Perceived parental rearing was assessed with the use of the Parental Bonding Instrument, which consists of the factors of care and protection, whereas personality traits were assessed with the use of the Temperament and Character Inventory, which has 7 dimensions. In male subjects, all personality dimensions except for novelty seeking were influenced by parental rearing; in female subjects, only the harm avoidance (HA) and self-directedness (SD) dimensions were affected by parenting. Paternal rearing influenced 3 dimensions in male subjects and 1 dimension in female subjects, whereas maternal rearing influenced 5 dimensions in male subjects and 2 dimensions in female subjects. In male subjects, higher HA was related to higher paternal protection (P < .05), whereas in female subjects, it was related to higher maternal protection (P < .01). In male subjects, lower SD was related to higher paternal protection (P < .05) and lower maternal care (P < .01), whereas in female subjects, it was related to lower paternal care (P < .05) and higher maternal protection (P < .01). These results suggest that parental rearing influences the personality traits of healthy subjects, especially HA and SD, with sex specificity in parents and recipients.
Overprotective parenting implicated in ADHD
Mothers of children with ADHD were less affectionate and more overprotective and controlling toward their children than were mothers of controls. This difference was more apparent in boys than in girls. Children with ADHD were less likely to interact with their parents, yet demonstrated more severe behavioural problems at home.
Overprotective parenting associated with fear of failure and low task performance
In Study 2, 58 college students were monitored (physiologically) during a class presentation in order to test the hypothesis that perceived parental rearing is predictive of stress through influencing fear of failure. Results from Multilevel Random Coefficient Modeling showed that perceived parental caring was associated with significantly lessened stress compared to perceived overprotection. Modeling the relationships using Structural Equation Modeling indicated that students reporting an overprotective parental style approached the task with significantly elevated fears, had elevated stress during the task, and lower task performance.
Overprotective parents predict functional somatic symptoms in teens
Functional somatic symptoms (FSS) were measured in 2230 adolescents (ages 10 to 12 years from the Tracking Adolescents’ Individual Lives Survey) at baseline and at follow-up 2½ years later. Parental overprotection as perceived by the child was assessed by means of the EMBU-C . Parental overprotection was a predictor of the development of functional somatic symptoms in young adolescents. Stratified analyses revealed that maternal overprotection was a predictor of the development of functional somatic syndrome (FSS) in girls, whereas paternal overprotection was a predictor of the development of FSS in boys. A small (5.7%) but significant mediating effect of maternal parenting stress in the relationship between parental overprotection and FSS was found. Parental overprotection may play a role in the development of FSS in young adolescents.
Overprotective moms associated with eating disorders in adolescent women
This study is an exploration of both interpersonal and intrapsychic factors associated with eating disorders in late adolescent women. It examines perceived parental bonding characteristics and resolution of the second separation-individuation process for both eating and non-eating disordered subjects. Subjects were 20 late adolescent eating disordered women and 20 symptom-free late adolescent female university students. All subjects received the Eating Disorder Inventory, the Parental Bonding Inventory, and the Separation-Individuation Test of Adolescence. Late adolescent eating disordered women reported significantly higher levels of maternal over-protectiveness during childhood and had significantly higher levels of separation anxiety and lower healthy separation scores than non-eating disordered students.
Loving but controlling parents more likely to produce religious offspring
A survey of 653 Seventh‐day Adventist young adults, randomly distributed throughout the United States and Canada, compared their perceptions of the way their parents treated them as children with their present commitment to the church. Warm, caring behaviors from parents predicted strong religious commitment when the children entered adulthood. In the case of the mother it also predicted regularity in worship attendance. Of the four styles of parenting, “affectionate constraint,” a mixture of care and control, produced the largest percentage of enthusiastic members and the fewest drop‐outs.
Controlling parenting reduces feelings of self-efficacy
Former participants in a high school enrichment program for girls interested in science careers were surveyed 1 to 2 years after high school graduation. After reporting their college major, they completed measures of science self‐efficacy and quality of emotional bonds with parents. Of the 41 women, 5 were not enrolled in college. Those actually majoring in science (n= 23) reported significantly higher science self‐efficacy than those who were undecided or had chosen nonscicnce majors (n= 13). Science self‐efficacy was significantly negatively associated with recollections of fathers as having been highly controlling and likely to use a “love withdrawal” parenting style.
Link to the Parental Bonding Instrument Questionnaire
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