Research Provides Insight Into The Psychology Of Parental Alienation

The Psychology of Parental Alienation News

Psychology News

Researchers at the Colorado State University led a scientific inquiry into parental alienation, one of the most overlooked types of partner abuse. The study is published in the journal Personal Relationships.

Understanding Parental Alienation

Parental alienation is a process by which one parent manipulates a child and makes him/her estranged from another parent. Such behavior is usually common in the aftermath of a divorce and separation. It should be noted that parental alienation is very different from child estrangement, in which the child himself/herself cut off ties with the parents.

The Study

The researchers interviewed 29 mothers and 50 fathers who self-reportedly experienced parental alienating behavior. The study applied the interdependence theory to study the power dynamics in family units affected by parental alienation.

Interdependence theory is a social contract theory that states that people’s interaction with each other influences their experiences. It studies interpersonal relationships, asymmetries in power, and health outcomes.

The Findings

The researchers found significant similarities between parental alienation and partner abuse, noting that the former is caused by the same power imbalances in a conflicting partnered relationship. The perpetrating partner creates a power imbalance and uses controlling abuse against the other disadvantaged partner. In most cases, such partner abuse takes the form of coercion, violence, intimate terrorism, threats, physical abuse, and battery. The resulting climate disempowers and intimidates the alienating parent, who fears that he/she will lose the children or hurt themselves.

The researchers also noted the gender-neutral nature of parental alienation and linked its prevalence to co-parenting arrangements in which the perpetrating parent has more resources and sole custody of the children involved.

Drawing Inferences

The researchers have inferred that parental alienation, like other abusive relationships, has a significant impact on the children of the estranged partners. They are often deprived of childhood experiences and familial support which, in turn, impact their physical and mental well-being and social functioning.

Through the study, the researchers have sought to bring credibility and awareness to the problems parental alienation causes for children, families, and society at large. This can help change the ways in which parental alienating behaviors are viewed and addressed in family court proceedings. The lead researcher, Jennifer Harman, elaborated, “Parental alienating behaviors are abusive and should be included under legislation and policies that seek to protect children.”

To Know More You May Relate To

Harman, J. J., Maniotes, C. R., & Grubb, C. (2021). Power dynamics in families affected by parental alienation. Personal Relationships, 28(4), 883-906. https://doi.org/10.1111/pere.12392

Up Next

Can Talking To Strangers Help With Depression?

Can Talking To Strangers Ease Depression

Mental Health News

A group of researchers at the University of Sussex explored how talking to strangers can reduce depression. The study is published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.

The Study

The researchers recruited participants on a weekly basis. The latter played a scavenger hunt game using a mobile app called GooseChase. They then had to talk to a stranger or simply observe the stranger.

After the experiment, they completed “General” and “Daily” surveys. They also answered pre-conversation and post-conversation questionnaires that assesse


READ FULL ARTICLE ⇲
Up Next

Partying With A Purpose: Are There Mental Health Benefits Of Celebrations?

What Are The Mental Health Benefits Of Celebrations

A recent study explored the health benefits of celebrations.

Experts have linked celebrations to reduced risks of mental health conditions.

Why Are Healthy Celebrations Beneficial?

Social celebrations are joyous occasions that essentially include eating, drinking, and gathering together. A recent study conducted by Indiana University revealed that such celebrations are beneficial for health, mental and physical. Its benefits include:

Perceived social support in c

READ FULL ARTICLE ⇲
Up Next

False Memories: Why Do Psychopaths Forget Negative Events?

False Memories

Psychology News

A team of researchers at the University of Bari, Italy, explored the link between psychopathy and the creation of false memories. The study is published in the British Journal of Psychology.

The Study

The researchers asked 120 participants, aged 18–65 years, to complete the Psychopathic Personality Inventory. They assessed the participants’ self-centered impulsivity, fearless dominance, and cold-heartedness.

The latter


READ FULL ARTICLE ⇲
Up Next

Parents’ Political Ideology Impacts How Their Children Punish Others: Study

Parents’ Political Ideology Impacts

Psychology News

A team of researchers at New York University explored how parents’ political ideology dictates their children’s punishment for others. The study is published in the journal Psychological Science.

The Study

The researchers examined 269 children, aged 3−8 years, and their parents from across the United States. They conducted a series of experiments and surveys.

The children were subject to conditions in which they would demonstrate the need to meet out punishment to others within and outside a social group. On the other hand, the parents completed a qu


READ FULL ARTICLE ⇲
Up Next

Research Reveals How Stress Affects Romantic Relationships

How Stress Affects Romantic Relationships

Mental Health News

A team of researchers at the University of Texas, Austin, explored how stress affects romantic relationships. The study is published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.

The Study

The researchers surveyed a daily diary study of 79 newlywed couples. They assessed factors like stressful life events, partner’s negative and positive behaviors, partner perception, etc.

The Findings

The results revealed that


READ FULL ARTICLE ⇲
Billy Milligan: The Man With “24” Faces The Boy Who Stayed Awake For 11 Days Straight How Netflix’s “Wednesday” Explores Adolescent Stress And Therapy What Harry Potter Teaches Us About Mental Health? Nocturnal Panic Attacks: What are they & how to recover 10 Best Healthy Foods To Beat The Holiday Blues What Are The Struggles During Holidays & 5 Ways To Prevent It Holiday Depression: 13 Tips To Beat Holiday Blues I am feeling so “behind” in life 7 Frustrating Things About Living With BPD Are You An Impulse Shopper? 9 Tips To Stop Impulse Buying The Healing Power Of Music Therapy