Early parenting representations are likely to affect future parenting, and it is therefore important to investigate their predictors. In this study, we focused on one dimension of early parenting representations, i.e., perceived ability to relate well to children (PARC) in young adults who are not yet parents, and examined whether this was associated with their own parents’ overparenting. In addition, we investigated whether this association was mediated by young adults’ attachment styles and perceived general interpersonal problems. Questionnaires were collected from 96 triads (mothers, fathers, young adults; 50% male) comprising intact families. Overparenting dimensions were not consistently associated with PARC. First, significant associations with PARC were observed only for maternal overparenting. Second, higher levels of maternal anticipatory problem solving were significantly associated with lower levels of PARC, whereas higher levels of maternal advice/affect management were significantly associated with higher levels of PARC. These associations were significantly mediated (partially) by levels of secure attachment style and (completely) by levels of dismissive attachment style. Dimensions of maternal overparenting and their interplay with young adult offspring’s attachment might have a part in the formation of young adults’ early parenting representations. Prevention initiatives could be set up to inform young adults’ parents about the drawbacks of overparenting, and young adults themselves about possible coping mechanisms.
Journal of Adult Development – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 1, 2017
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