Background: Helicopter parenting, a form of over-parenting involving the use of
developmentally inappropriate strategies on the offspring, has been associated with depressive
symptoms in university students. However, little research has examined the underlying mechanisms of
this relationship. Resilience as the process of successful adaptation to adverse circumstances is
proposed as a potential mediating factor.
Objectives: This study aimed to determine: (1) if helicopter parenting would predict depressive
symptoms in Irish students; (2) if this relationship between helicopter parenting and severity of
depressive symptoms was mediated by resilience; and (3) which aspects of resilience were significantly
contributing to this mediation.
Method: Data from 208 Irish university students who completed online measures of helicopter
parenting, resilience and current depressive symptoms’ severity were analysed.
Results: Perceived helicopter parenting, including perception of over-protection and perception of
intrusiveness and control, predicted severity of depressive symptoms. The relationship between
perceived helicopter parenting and depressive symptoms was mediated via decreased resilience. Social
resources, perception of the self, and perception of the future were the resilience components
contributing the most significantly to this relationship mediation.
Conclusion: Future research in emerging adults needs to investigate helicopter parenting as a potential
intervention target in the context of growing depression rates in both university students and the
population in general. Longitudinal studies that follow children into adolescence and adulthood should
seek to comprehensively assess the relationship between helicopter parenting, resilience development