eCite Digital Repository

Parental alienating behaviours


Harman, JJ and Matthewson, ML, Parental alienating behaviours, Parental alienation: Science and Law, Charles C Thomas, Publisher, Ltd., D Lorandos and W Bernet (ed), United States, pp. 82-141. ISBN 9780398093242 (2020) [Research Book Chapter]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2020 Charles C. Thomas Publisher, Ltd.

Official URL:


Parental alienation (PA) is triggered by a pattern of alienating behaviors (ABs) enacted by a parent (referred to as the alienating parent) over time with the intent to harm the relationship between the other parent {referred to as the alienated parent) and the child and/or to harm the alienated parent themselves. 1 This chapter is focused on Factor Four of the Five-Factor Model, i.e. the use of multiple ABs on the part of the preferred parent.2 Various characteristics and behaviors of the alienating parent have been identified in the research literature, including: (1) personality disorders (e.g., narcissism, borderline, psychopathy) and a paranoid orientation to interactions with others; (2) severe cognitive distortions, such as holding an unwavering belief that the alienated parent is dangerous even in the face of evidence to the contrary; (3) externalising unwanted emotions and responsibilities; (4) ex­hibiting anger associated with an abnormal grieving process; and (5) an en­meshed and unhealthy relationship with their family of origin.3These char­acteristics are considered motivators for engaging in ABs, as they drive the alienating parent to perceive situations and other people in negative and dis­torted ways, to act in ways that serve their interest to maintain all control over the children and other family members, and to harm the alienated parent.

Item Details

Item Type:Research Book Chapter
Keywords:parental alienation, alienated parents, targeted parents, family violence
Research Division:Psychology
Research Group:Applied and developmental psychology
Research Field:Forensic psychology
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Behaviour and health
UTAS Author:Matthewson, ML (Dr Mandy Matthewson)
ID Code:138021
Year Published:2020
Deposited By:Psychology
Deposited On:2020-03-19
Last Modified:2021-03-09

Repository Staff Only: item control page