Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access



Second Department


First Advisor

Timothy Stablein

Second Advisor

Jennifer Malatras




helicopter parenting, emerging adulthood, risky sexual behavior, self-determination theory, attachment


Prior research on helicopter parenting suggests a hovering style of parenting may lead to engagement in risky behaviors including problematic drinking and drug use and risky sexual behavior. The purpose of the present study is to examine the relationship between helicopter parenting during childhood and adolescence and later sexual behavior in emerging adults. Participants included 380 undergraduate students between the ages of 18 and 26 who anonymously completed a survey where they were asked to report retrospectively about their parents' parenting behavior during the time they were growing up and their sexual health histories during the past six months, utilizing the Helicopter Parenting Scale (HPS) and Sexual Risk Survey (SRS), respectively. Findings did not support a significant relationship between the experience of helicopter parenting and risky sexual behavior and were inconsistent with prior research. However, results show that there were some trends in the data with those who self-identified as part of the gender minority, Black or African American, and upper income groups exhibiting all positive correlation values and those who self-identified as part of the Hispanic or Latino and low income groups exhibiting all negative correlation values. These findings suggest a need for further research that seeks to better understand how demographic differences may influence the relationship between helicopter parenting and risky behaviors.



Rights Statement

In Copyright - Educational Use Permitted.