Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 260–272 | Cite as

Maternal Parenting Style and Internalizing and ADHD Symptoms in College Students

  • Anne E. StevensEmail author
  • Will H. Canu
  • Elizabeth K. Lefler
  • Cynthia M. Hartung
Original Paper


The purpose of the current study was to test for a relation between emerging adult Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) status, how they reported being reared (i.e., perceived parenting style), and how the maternal parenting they received in childhood was linked with current adjustment. College students completed online surveys regarding their ADHD status, impairment, and maternal parenting style. Participants with ADHD reported higher levels of maternal authoritarian parenting (controlling/punitive) and lower levels of maternal authoritative parenting (structured/supportive) compared with participants without ADHD. Across the entire sample, higher reported maternal authoritative parenting was associated with lower levels of inattention (IA), hyperactivity/impulsivity (HI), depression, anxiety and stress, and higher levels of maternal authoritarian and permissive parenting was associated with higher levels of IA, HI, depression, anxiety, and stress. Sex moderated the relations between maternal parenting style and psychopathology such that women who reported low levels of authoritative parenting also reported higher levels of symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress, where no differences in psychopathology were found in men across both low and high levels of authoritative parenting. These links between current adjustment and maternal parenting style suggest authoritative parenting may protect against negative adjustment in college students and may be especially important for women.


College students ADHD Parenting College adjustment Authoritative parenting 



This study is based on the first author’s Master’s thesis, which has not been previously published in a peer-reviewed journal. A version of this paper appears in a collection of theses in the UNC Systems Libraries database.

Author Contributions

AS designed and executed the study, analyzed the data, and wrote the paper. WC designed the study, assisted with data analysis, collaborated with writing the paper, and assisted with final edits of the paper. EL collaborated with the design, collaborated with data analysis, and assisted with paper edits. CH collaborated with the design, assisted with data analysis, assisted with paper edits and supervised data collection.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee at Appalachian State University and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of WyomingLaramieUSA
  2. 2.Appalachian State UniversityBooneUSA
  3. 3.University of Northern IowaCedar FallsUSA
  4. 4.University of WyomingLaramieUSA

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