Two Fresno State Craig School of Business professors released new research revealing that over-parenting can make children less successful when they enter the workforce.

Professors Jill C. Bradley-Geist and Julie B. Olson-Buchanan co-wrote “Helicopter parents: An Examination of the Correlates of Over-parenting of College Students,” which was published in the recent issue of “Education + Training.”

In one of the first studies to assess the impact of the over-parenting of young adults on future workplace behavior, researchers found that helicopter parents, named for their tendency to hover over their offspring, might be more than a mere nuisance to employers.

Bradley-Geist and Olson-Buchanan surveyed over 450 undergraduates who were asked to rate their level of self-efficacy, the frequency of parental involvement, how involved parents were in their daily lives and their response to certain workplace scenarios.

“This is one of the first studies to empirically examine the antecedents and outcomes associated with over-parenting with young adults who are nearing the completion of their college degree,” Bradley-Geist said. “An important area for this research was identifying the potential work-related behavior of employees who were raised by helicopter parents.”

The study revealed the clearest difference between those students with helicopter parents was their lack of belief in their own ability to complete tasks and reach goals, with researchers suggesting this should ring alarm bells for future employers. It found that students who experienced helicopter parenting through college were more likely to be dependent on others, engage in poor coping strategies and lack the soft-skills, like responsibility and conscientiousness, that employers value.

“A particularly intriguing finding is that over-parenting relates to maladaptive job search and work behaviors. This suggests several possible practical implications for higher education professionals, who might consider providing additional opportunities for students to develop greater autonomy, accountability and for dealing with negative feedback,” Olson-Buchanan said.

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