18 March 2014, 15:15 — 16:00

Parentification in childhood and adult well-being

Room 1


Dear Students,

You are invited to take part in a meeting with Prof. Jochen Hardt (University of Mainz, Germany). The meeting is entitled Parentification in childhood and adult well-being and it belongs to the 'Scientific Tuesdays' series of meetings. It is free of charge.

When and where: Tue, 18 Mar, 15:15-16:00, room 1.


Background: Parentification means that a child takes care of a parent - instead of vice versa as it should be. In terms of attachment theory, it could be said that in order to “survive emotionally”, children have to mobilize their caregiving system towards the parents, instead of receiving care from them.

Method: The present analysis is based on two internet surveys of about 500 subjects each. They were carried out in 2008 within an interval of almost a year. Via e-mail, respondents were asked to fill out a set of questionnaires containing about 280 items. Respondents were informed that the survey was for research purposes and that the researchers were interested in mental health and various circumstances of life. Participants received compensation of about € 4,30 for answering the questionnaire, which took about half an hour.

Results: Depressive symptoms were similarly associated to maternal and paternal parentification - the higher the parentification in childhood, the higher the depressive symptoms in adulthood. Pain was only associated with maternal parentification, vegetative symptoms only with paternal parentification.

Conclusions: Parentification from both parents shows various long term sequelae. The strongest effect was observed regarding depression.