The Perception of Caregiver Parenting Styles and its Association with Mental Health Functioning in College Students

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Sloop, MaKayla
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University Honors College, Middle Tennessee State University
This study examined the relationship between a caregiver’s parenting style and a collegeaged student’s mental health functioning. The intention of this study was to directly connect parenting styles and an individual’s mental health functioning. The current study used empirically defined parenting strategies based on Baumrind’s authoritarian, authoritative, and permissive parenting styles, and self-report of individual’s perceived university-related stress, depression, and anxiety. Importantly, with regard to the current study, the term “parent” references any caregiver who possesses guardianship of the child for which they are responsible. This term encompasses biological parents, adoptive parents, grandparents, legal guardians, and other potential primary caregivers in a child’s life. The terms “parent,” “guardian,” and “caregiver” are used interchangeably. Participants consisted of college students (31 female, 10 male, 4 non-binary) recruited through Middle Tennessee State University’s Department of Psychology research pool. A majority (80%) were between the ages of 18 and 21 and a majority (64.4%) were White/Caucasian. Participants completed an online self-report survey that consisted of a demographic section and four validated measures: the Parental Authority Questionnaire, the University Stress Scale, the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale, and the Generalized Anxiety Disorder Scale. Bivariate correlations were run using all variables of interest in order to determine if there were any significant correlations in patterns of responses pertaining to the variables of interest. Hypotheses regarding perceived parenting style and symptoms of anxiety and depression were not supported.