Holly Schiffrin and colleagues at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Va., said the over-controlling parenting style of the helicopter parents negatively affects students' well-being.
Schiffrin said the study involved 297 U.S. undergraduate students, ages 18-23, who answered an online survey that asked to describe their mothers' parenting behaviors, rate their own perceptions of their autonomy, competence and relatedness, i.e., how well they get along with others.
The researchers also assessed the students' overall satisfaction with life, their level of anxiety and whether they suffered depressive symptoms.
The study, published in the Journal of Child and Family Studies, found overall, an inappropriate level of parental behavioral control was linked to negative well-being outcomes for students, and helicopter parenting behaviors were related to higher levels of depression and decreased satisfaction with life.
In addition, helicopter parenting behaviors were associated with lower levels of perceived autonomy, competence and relatedness.