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Psychol Bull. 2018 Dec;144(12):1275-1299. doi: 10.1037/bul0000175.

Parental alienating behaviors: An unacknowledged form of family violence.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, Colorado State University.
2
School of Social Work, University of British Columbia.
3
Department of Psychology, Clark University.

Abstract

Despite affecting millions of families around the world, parental alienation has been largely unacknowledged or denied by legal and health professionals as a form of family violence. This complex form of aggression entails a parental figure engaging in the long-term use of a variety of aggressive behaviors to harm the relationship between their child and another parental figure, and/or to hurt the other parental figure directly because of their relationship with their child. Like other forms of family violence, parental alienation has serious and negative consequences for family members, yet victims are often blamed for their experience. In order to be recognized as a form of family violence and to secure protection for victims under law and social policies, a formal review and comparison of parental alienating behaviors and outcomes to child abuse and intimate partner violence has been sorely needed. The result of this review highlights how the societal denial of parental alienation has been like the historical social and political denial or other forms of abuse in many parts of the world (e.g., child abuse a century ago). Reframing parental alienating behaviors as a form of family violence also serves as a desperate call to action for social scientists to focus more theoretical and empirical attention to this topic. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved).

PMID:
30475019
DOI:
10.1037/bul0000175
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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