We examined helicopter parenting (e.g., intervening, assisting with tasks that emerging adults are capable of performing independently) during the transition to university relative to positive parenting (autonomy support, warmth, age-appropriate involvement) and academic motivation. Participants were n = 460 full-time, first-year undergraduates who completed surveys in September and December. In a latent profile analysis, differences were prominent for positive parenting (three profiles featured relatively low, moderate, and high levels). Amotivation was highest in combination with lower positive parenting. Intrinsic motivation was highest in combination with higher positive parenting; helicopter parenting was similar across profiles and was not meaningfully associated with end-of-semester well-being. End-of-semester outcomes were poorest for low positive parenting, but supplemental analyses showed disadvantages were already evident in September. Perceptions of parents during the transition to university likely reflect continuity from adolescent parenting environments. Results do not support the narrative that helicopter parenting is common or a barrier to student success.

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Emerging Adulthood
Department of Psychology

Howard, A.L, Alexander, S.M. (Sean M.), & Dunn, L.C. (Leigh C.). (2020). Helicopter Parenting Is Unrelated to Student Success and Well-Being: A Latent Profile Analysis of Perceived Parenting and Academic Motivation During the Transition to University. Emerging Adulthood. doi:10.1177/2167696820901626