Wednesday, February 20, 2013

No Duh. Hyper-parenting connected to depression in college students, study suggests. From the Boston U Daily Free Press.

Missy's in class.
I'm in the hallway.
I brought peanut
butter crackers
for when she's hungry.
Over-controlling parents may cause depression and other negative psychological effects in college students, according to a recent study. Boston University faculty said this trend of “hovering parents” and its repercussions could be tied to the cost of college.

“On a societal level, it could be partly the rising costs of college education,” said Julian Go, a BU sociology professor. “Parents are rightfully thinking of education as an investment. It pushes parents to be more concerned, or intrusive, in their investment.”

Researchers studied about 300 college students between the ages of 18 and 23 at a public liberal arts college and found those with overactive parents reported significantly greater depression and a lesser sense of fulfillment, according to a study released in the February 2013 issue of the Journal of Child and Family studies.

“Our data suggest that an inappropriate level of parental behavioral control is associated with negative child outcomes,” the study stated. “Specifically, we found that helicopter parenting behaviors were related to higher levels of depression and decreased satisfaction with life.”



  1. Helicopter parents can contribute to the rising cost of tuition as well. Parents look for extra amenities to make their precious darling feel welcome, comforted and special in ways that previous generations did not. Colleges respond to that by providing those services but at a price.

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  3. Well, that certainly was entertaining.

  4. Not only do the "hello-copter" parents seem to affect depression, they affect it only at certain times of the year. Deadlines loom and suddenly, half my class is in bed depressed.

    1. Actually, that makes more sense than the epidemic of dying grandparents. If I were not prepared for an exam and was going to fail it, I'd be depressed too.

  5. The Dr. Phil show will have some helicopter parents on TV tomorrow.

    No, I don't work for him.

  6. Is the woman in the graphic Michelle Bachmann?

  7. Her eyes seem OK, so probably no.
    More of an older Keira Knightley, perhaps.

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  9. I think the helicopter trend may be waning a bit (though of course the effects will take quite a while to make their way to the college level). The kids of the helicopter generation, who are beginning to have kids of their own, seem very enamored of the styles of the 1950s and 1960s, including maintaining something of an adults-only nightlife even after having kids (it helps, of course, if they have their own helicopter parents nearby to babysit). Of course, this raises several questions:

    --Will we soon be dealing with helicopter grandparents (if your kids aren't sufficiently micromanaging *their* kids lives, step in and fill in the gap)?

    --And who in the world is going to take care of the helicopter parents in their old age? It used to be that one reason for trying to raise competent, compassionate children was the knowledge that they'd be making decisions for you at the end of life, but I'm not seeing much of that. Maybe one more case of the boomers denying their own mortality? Or perhaps the next next trend is helicopter hauntings?


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