Date of Award

Summer 8-2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Chair

Bonnie C. Nicholson

Committee Chair Department


Committee Member 2

Eric R. Dahlen

Committee Member 2 Department


Committee Member 3

Ashley B. Batastini

Committee Member 3 Department


Committee Member 4

Richard S. Mohn

Committee Member 4 Department

Educational Research and Administration


Overparenting, or “helicopter parenting,” is a unique style of parenting characterized by parents’ well-intentioned but age-inappropriate over-involvement and intrusiveness in their children’s lives. Recent research has linked overparenting to the development of narcissistic traits in young adults, although the mechanisms of this relationship remain unclear. Two plausible mechanisms include the parenting behavior of psychological control and the increased interpersonal dependency of the child. Psychological control is a construct that overlaps with overparenting and has been linked to both dependent and narcissistic traits. Similarly, interpersonal dependency is a key predictor of narcissistic traits. Therefore, the present study sought to examine psychological control and interpersonal dependency as sequential mediators in the relationship between overparenting and young adult narcissistic traits. It was hypothesized that greater levels of overparenting would be mediated by both greater levels of parental psychological control and greater levels of interpersonal dependency among young adult children in predicting narcissistic traits. Additionally, it was predicted that these mediating relationships would be more pronounced when examining vulnerable narcissistic traits compared to grandiose narcissistic traits. Results supported these hypotheses. These findings highlight the mechanisms by which overparenting predicts narcissistic traits, as well as shed light on the multifaceted nature of narcissism.