The use of parental alienation constructs by family justice system professionals: A survey of belief systems and practice implications
Family Court Review
Parent–child contact problems (PCCP) after separation and divorce are the focus of heated debate in academia and the popular media as to how best to identify, assess and respond to children who resist or refuse time with a parent. Practitioners disagree about the extent to which parental alienation (PA) is a valid and widespread phenomenon versus a legal strategy to counter IPV and child abuse allegations. This study sheds light on prevailing attitudes by surveying the opinions and beliefs of 1049 interdisciplinary family law professionals who deal directly with these matters in practice. These experienced practitioners were confident about their understanding of PCCPs despite little formal instruction on relevant issues. They were less clear about the differentiation between similarly used terms, research evidence, and interventions to address the problems. Emergent themes provide insight into practitioners' beliefs about the harm caused by a parent's alienating behaviors, the extent to which PA is a real phenomenon vs. a litigation strategy, the quality of social science empirical evidence, views of the child in PA cases, and recommended interventions. Responses demonstrate practitioners taking moderate positions that balance competing interests, struggling with ambiguities and contradictions rife in PA cases and PA-related practice in family law.
child custody disputes, family law, parental alienation, parent–child contact, problems, resist-refusal dynamics
Marsha Kline Pruett, Janet R. Johnston, Michael Saini, Matt Sullivan, and Peter Salem. "The use of parental alienation constructs by family justice system professionals: A survey of belief systems and practice implications" Family Court Review (2023): 219-457. https://doi.org/10.1111/fcre.12716