This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

An Examination of the Relationship between Helicopter Parenting and College Adjustment and the Effects of Emotional Intelligence




Buchannon, Chenetra

Type of Degree



Counseling Psychology


The term, helicopter parenting, was coined to describe how the parents of the children born in the millennium generation are involved in every aspect of their children’s lives in developmentally inappropriate ways, especially in educational settings like colleges and universities. The research on the helicopter parenting phenomenon indicates that there is no clear definition of helicopter parenting and that concept of helicopter parenting has both positive and negative outcomes among adult college children. The present study examined the relationship between student perceived helicopter parenting, other styles of parenting, parental attachment, and adjustment to college. In addition, the study explored the effects of emotional intelligence (EI) on the relationship between helicopter parenting and college adjustment. The results indicated that helicopter parenting was related to more than one style of parental authority and a lack of parental fostering of autonomy. Higher levels of helicopter parenting predicted lower levels of adjustment to college. Additionally, EI did not mediate or moderate the relationship between helicopter parenting and college adjustment; however, this research demonstrated that EI had a greater positive influence in students’ ability to adjust to college than did the negative influence of their parents’ helicopter parenting behavior. The results have implications for psychologists working in college counseling.