This study explored parentification dimensions, the age of onset, duration, and family circumstances to better understand the characteristics of parentification and its impact on depressive symptoms among Korean college students.
A sample of South Korean college students (N = 316, aged 18–29 years, 66.1% female) rated their childhood parentification experiences and current depressive symptoms.
Overall, there were few significant differences in parentification dimensions and depressive symptoms regarding family circumstances that contributed to parentification. Longer duration and earlier onset of parentification were significantly associated with higher depressive symptom scores in adulthood. However, only perceived unfairness was associated with depressive symptoms after controlling for the age of onset, duration, and other parentification dimensions.
These findings suggest the importance of examining situational contexts of parentification to better capture the effects of childhood parentification on depressive symptoms in adulthood.