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Professor Kerri Milita shared her latest research at a Brownbag presentation titled “Helicopter Parenting & the Development of Political Ambition in College Students.” This research argues that the rise of helicopter parenting has likely contributed to the decline of political ambition among young Americans.

Milita and her co-author, Jaclyn Bunch, offer evidence that helicopter parenting is strongly associated with a reduced student interest in running for office. High levels of helicopter parenting are positively related to a student’s trust in government and to the belief that people who run for office do so for the public good (rather than for personal self-interest). Moreover, helicoptered students tend to develop an external locus of control, whereby they are unlikely to believe that they have control over events in their lives. Taken together, these findings offer a compelling narrative of how helicopter parenting may have contributed to the decline in political ambition.