"One Day I Will Make a Good Parent": On The Relationship Between Overparenting and Young Adults’ Early Parenting Representations

Miri Scharf, Sofie Rousseau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-209
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Adult Development
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, Springer Science+Business Media New York.


  • Attachment
  • Early parenting representations
  • Interpersonal problems
  • Mothers and fathers
  • Overparenting
  • Young adulthood

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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