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The Association Between Overparenting, Parent-Child Communication, and Entitlement and Adaptive Traits in Adult Children


  • Department of Communication Studies, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS 66045.

  • Communication Arts & Sciences, California State University, Chico, Tehama Hall Room 201, Chico, CA 95929-0502.

  • Department of Communication, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721.

  • Department of Communication Studies, Bloomsburg University, 400 E. 2nd St., Bloomsburg, PA 17815.

Department of Communication, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721 (


What is colloquially referred to as “helicopter parenting” is a form of overparenting in which parents apply overly involved and developmentally inappropriate tactics to their children who are otherwise able to assume adult responsibilities and autonomy. Overparenting is hypothesized to be associated with dysfunctional family processes and negative child outcomes. Predictions were tested on 538 parent-young adult child dyads from locations throughout most of the United States. Parents completed a newly developed measure of overparenting as well as family enmenshment, parenting styles, and parent-child communication scales. Young adult children completed measures of parent-child communication, family satisfaction, entitlement, and several adaptive traits. Results showed that overparenting is associated with lower quality parent-child communication and has an indirect effect on lower family satisfaction. Overparenting was also a significant predictor of young adult child entitlement, although it was not related to any of the adaptive traits measured in young adult children.

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