Lights hanging inside the O'Shaughnessy-Frey Library Center

Sarah E. Nelson

Major: Psychology
Topic: How parenting influences children after they become adults
Faculty Mentor:

Dr. John Buri

For my research, I was interested in how parenting influences children once the children are adults. I was curious if specific parenting styles and family atmospheres predicted certain unhealthy behaviors in children. My hypothesis was correct and parenting does matter and can influence children to develop negative behaviors. Factors such as parental overprotection, intrusiveness, and authoritarian parenting (parenting that is strict and demanding, yet not responsive) show a higher probability of children developing unhealthy views of the world such as feelings of emotional deprivation, abandonment, mistrust, alienation, and defectiveness or shame. The more a family is intimate and the more parents are authoritative (showing authority while being responsive) the less likely a child is to develop those unhealthy views.

What was your favorite part of the project?

I loved evaluating the data for this project. It was a lot of fun to use the statistics I’ve learned from my courses and apply it to a topic that I was highly interested in.

Why did you choose St. Thomas?

I chose St. Thomas because of the scholarship opportunities provided to me; not only research scholarships, such as this Young Scholars project, but also tuition scholarships. I feel like I am at the good end of the deal at St. Thomas by getting more than I am paying for.