Parenting Practices, Parent–Child Relationship, and Perceived Academic Control in College Students

Woosang Hwang, Eunjoo Jung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


We examined the associations among parent–child relationships, two types of parenting practices (helicopter parenting and autonomy support), and college students’ perceived academic outcomes. Participants were from a private university in Upstate New York. Structural equation modeling was utilized to examine the above associations. Results showed that mothers’ autonomy support was positively associated with children’s academic control, whereas fathers’ helicopter parenting was negatively related to children’s academic control. Regarding the mediation effects, the mother–child relationship mediated the association between mothers’ two types of parenting practices and children’s academic control. However, the mediating effects of the father–child relationship in the association between fathers’ two types of parenting practices and children’s academic control were not significant. Consequently, our findings indicate that helicopter parenting and autonomy support could be related to fathers’ and mothers’ parenting contexts. We suggest that autonomy support is an appropriate parenting practice for promoting college students’ academic success as well as enhancing the parent–child relationship. In addition, we suggest that helicopter parenting is not advantageous for developing college students’ academic control, but could be beneficial for the parent–child relationship. These mixed effects of helicopter parenting on college students’ relational and academic-related outcomes should be investigated further. Moving beyond the dichotomous perspective regarding autonomy support and helicopter parenting, we believe that it is necessary to strengthen understanding of their merits and provide guidance for parents who have college-aged children to enable them to employ more developmentally appropriate parenting practices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-49
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Adult Development
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2021


  • Autonomy support
  • Emerging adulthood
  • Helicopter parenting
  • Parent–child relationship
  • Perceived academic control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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