Repository logo

Parental alienation and targeted parents: loss, coping, and social support




Kline, Chelsea L., author
Biringen, Zeynep, advisor
Harman, Jennifer, committee member
Harvey, Ashley, committee member

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


As the phenomenon of parental alienation becomes more prevalent and recognized by professionals who work with families, focusing on the impact of parental alienation on the alienated parent is becoming progressively more important. Alienated parents often suffer some sort of loss of their child (e.g., emotional connection, physical contact, or both) as a consequence of parental alienation. Due to the nature of this loss, we argue that parental alienation can lead to ambiguous loss that the targeted parent must learn to cope with. The purpose of this study was to further understand the experiences of parents who are targeted in alienation cases, specifically their feelings of loss and grief through the loss of emotional and/or physical connection with their children, as well as the various social supports that may be used by these parents in an effort to cope with this loss. The original interview data was obtained from parents who claim to have been alienated from their child after a separation or divorce. In order to quantify the qualitative data, two researchers coded the transcripts based on the operational definitions. The researchers coded a subsample of 45 interviews with these alienated parents. The researchers tested correlations between physical contact and emotional connection between the alienated parent and child, as well as between the contact and social supports utilized. Zero order (Pearson) correlations revealed no significant associations. However, some interesting results and themes from this subsample were noted.


Rights Access



Associated Publications