Parents' involvement in college students' lives not a hindrance, survey finds

March 28, 2012

New US research observes that college students whose parents were significantly involved in their lives did not hinder their progress. Although nearly 88% of parents surveyed reported being either somewhat or very involved throughout their child's college years, the researchers say the term "helicopter parents" is a misnomer. The study found that students in the sample (those whose parents were involved in their business) scored better on a scale measuring 4 areas key to personal development -- academic autonomy, healthy lifestyle, life purpose, and mature interpersonal relationships -- than did their non-sample peers. Researchers found that parents rarely intervened or solved problems for their students by contacting the PSE institution, but when they did, it was often for issues involving financial aid or bill pay. Parents intervened for one of 5 reasons: to seek or provide information, to seek understanding, to provide assistance or advocacy, and to register an opinion. Inside Higher Ed