Helicopter parenting, a parenting style defined by over-involvement, may lead to poor health outcomes. However, research has primarily focused on children and adolescents from White, high socio-economic families, with little research examining weight-related health or with emerging adult children. The current study examined associations with emerging adult diet, physical activity, and body mass index (BMI) among a diverse population-based sample of parent and emerging adult dyads (n = 919). Helicopter parenting was highest among lower socioeconomic households and those identifying as Black, Indigenous, or people of color. Helicopter parenting was associated with both healthy and less healthy dietary behaviors across ethnic/racial groups, but was not associated with physical activity or BMI. Greater consideration of the cultural context related to helicopter parenting is needed before making conclusions about its benefits or harms.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This study was supported by Grant Numbers R01HL127077 and R35HL139853 from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (PI: Dianne Neumark-Sztainer). SLH’s time was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (Grant Number: T32MH082761, PI: Scott Crow). KA’s time was supported by the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, grants KL2TR002492 and UL1TR002494. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, or the National Institutes of Health.
© 2023 Society for the Study of Emerging Adulthood and SAGE Publishing.
- health behavior
- health promotion
- transitions to adulthood