New study finds faults in helicopter parenting method

Published by adviser, Author: Haley Barnes - News Editor, Date: September 11, 2014

Helicopter parents are becoming an increasing issue in college, according to a recent study conducted by Jill C. Bradley-Geist and Julie B. Olson-Buchanan, professors of California State University Fresno.

By Merriam-Webster’s definition, a helicopter parent is “a parent who is overly involved in the life of his or her child.”   

The study is called “Helicopter Parents: An Examination of the Correlates of Over-Parenting of College students. The study is one of the first of its kind and it focuses on the downfalls of over-parenting. The study is published by the latest issue of Education + Training Volume 56, No. 4, 2014. 

 In this study, Bradley-Giest and Olson-Buchanan surveyed over 450 undergraduate students at the California State University Fresno. Students were surveyed on their level of self-efficiency, the frequency of parental involvement, how their parents are involved daily, and their response to workplace scenarios.

 Results showed that students with helicopter parents are more dependent on others. The results also showed that these students lack the ability to believe in themselves and handle responsibility, which according Bradley-Giest and Olson-Buchanan’s study, are qualities that employers value and look for in potential employees.

 Slippery Rock had mixed emotions about this study.

 Aleta Bullock, senior Health Service Administration major, explained that she felt parents are not necessarily ruining college for their children, but more along the lines of intruding on it. She feels parents fear of what could potentially happen to their children during college, but it is crucial that there should be some distance between parent and child because college is a time to discover one’s self.

 Serena Engel, junior Public Health major, was unfamiliar with the term “helicopter parent.” She said she calls her parents every day, but her parents know she can handle herself. She said she understands the stress of how helicopter parenting could ruin college for students because she does not work as well when she is nagged.

 Nick Rohm, sophomore Therapeutic Recreation major, said when he was in high school his parents were always helping him, but they do not help him as much now since they are far away. He keeps them up to date on his grades and he said he frequently texts his parents.

 Since this is the one of the first studies of its kind, the insight was a little out of the Slippery Rock University’s  Psychology Department’s reach.

 According to Dr. Jennifer Sanftner McGraw, Psychology Department chair, “There is a wide range within what is considered developmentally healthy in terms of parent-child interactions and the closeness between family members. The most important factor is the goodness of fit between the needs of each of the individuals involved.”




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