Parental Alienantion Syndrome?

Parental Alienation Syndrome is when one parent,
intentionally influences his/her child or children to takes distance from the
other adult.  It is often the mother who
practices PAS in such ways as refusing to talk to the father, avoiding him or
directly insulting him in front of his children. One is to think that this
should make the children resent their mother, but it actually has the opposite
effect. Nowadays it is becoming more and more common that men are inducing
their children with PAS ever since this phenomenon was discovered.

PAS is seen as emotional abuse, and Richard, A. argues in
his article (Parental Alienation Syndrome
(2nd edition)
Richard, A. and Gardnern, M.D, 1999) that it actually is
worse than physical or sexual abuse. With the result that children, who have
been exposed to anything out of the latter fact, at some point in life may be
reuniting with the parent. But a victim of PAS will never come in contact with
the targeted parent again.

At first, during the late 80’s and mid 90’s when this syndrome was first
discovered, it was believed that it was women who used themselves of PAS, but
after Richard A. and Gardnern, MD released their first book and the subject
became more widely known to people who are facing divorce, the number of men that
had been convicted of having programmed his children to distance themselves
from the mother increased.

This phenomenon have been tested on later occasions, where they tested 50
undergraduate psychology students from the age 18 to over 50, who studied at
the University of Texas at Dallas and University of North Texas. Thirtytwo of
the students lived with both their parents and seventeen lived with either
their mother or father. The student were given questionnaries with scale based
questions including statements as “My mother wanted me to respect and admire my
father”, then they’de have to rate on a scale from 0-8. As in 0 is ‘strongly disagree’ and 8 would be ‘strongly agree’. This statement were
also asked the other way around later on in the same questionnarie to help the
researches meassure whether they could detect PAS behavior, and who was more
likely to use it, the mother or the father? The research resulted in the
following figures you can see below.

The figures shows that women are more likely to use
PAS to make children distance themselves from their fathers. This study was
made available on the internet in 2011, and yet, you can see from the figures
that women still are more likely to use PAS to program their children into
distance themselves from the father, in both catecories.

I still believe that there are some holes in their
research, things you need to take into consideration here is the family
situation. Why are they divorced? That is a question with major importance for
this kind of study that you need to consider. What if the father was an abuser,
or the mother a drugadict?

And can you really do a study using only 50 test
subjects? To be able to state something as serious as this I believe that they
should have done more studies using more people.

Parental Alienation Syndrome (2nd edition) speaks
Richard, A. and Garndern, MD (1999)


11 comments on “Parental Alienantion Syndrome?

  1. lealeason says:

    Hi, your blog was really interesting again. It was structured in a cohesive manner and your introduction made it easy to understand what the following research was about, as well as your graphs.
    I am wondering about the term “Syndrom”. I tried to look the term up and found this definition: “A group of symptoms that collectively indicate or characterize a disease, psychological disorder, or other abnormal condition.(
    I wonder if the researchers believe that any of this is the case when a mother or a father influence the children to take distance.

    Well done!

    P.S.: Your blog looks like a christmas tree, maybe you could change it to a grouped style : )

  2. Haha, yes my blog does look like a christmas tree, i tried to add the graphs ( with inspiratoin from your last blog, Thank you very much 😉 ), but every time i tried the columns got messed up.. I will take some time and improve it till next time ^^,
    I believe that the term Syndrome is rather suitable for this phenomenon. For example, we have The Stockholm syndrome ( – last paragraph) Where it is said that a syndrom of this kind is a way of survival. The “victim” adapts to the situation to increase its own chances of survival. Whether or not PAS is a syndrome of not is now open for discussion – Contribute! 😀

    Thank you for your feedback 🙂

    • fjwbu says:

      I would be inclined to say it is a syndrome as the definition on the link lealeason gave says “A complex of symptoms indicating the existence of an undesirable condition or quality” and an “Abnormal condition”. I would say that PAS is an undesirable quality and an abnormal condition, therefore falling into the category of syndrome.

  3. psue3e says:

    I would like to thank you for this post! I have not heard much about the Parental Alienation Syndrome and I found it very informative and fascinating to read! It is well-structured, it combines both text and graphs so you involve the reader more and encourage personal interpretations of the data and of the research topic in general. The post is well supported with examples of how this issue was perceived in the 1980s and how contemporary society deals with it. Comparing research from throughout the years enables us to see the progress made by psychological research, in relation to Parental Alienation Syndrome.

    I would have appreciated it if you have discussed briefly the effects on the later life of children exposed to this syndrome. Are they more inclined to suffer from depression, distress, to have trust issues when starting an intimate relationship?

    Another issue is whether it is possible to isolate the effects of parental alienation from the general effects of divorce. If the boundaries between the two are blurred, how can we be sure that it is the concept of alienation that we are investigating? The validity of the research may suffer as a result of such uncertainty.

    In addition, research can be carried out, using only a particular sample of the population – those who believe to have been exposed to parental alienation. However, what if the manipulation and alienation have been so subtle that one does not really think they have been subjected to it? Or what if people do not want to admit they have suffered from Parental Alientation Syndrome since it is a socially sensitive issue? As well as that, I think qualitative research is preferable as a method of investigation in this case as it would enable psychologists to explore this issue in a greater depth and would not have concerns about whether the participants have answered the questionnaires honestly or not.

    That said, once again, thank you! I’m really looking forward to reading your next post! =)

  4. fjwbu says:

    Hey Tim 🙂 I thought your explanation in the first few sentences was a good idea and helped in understanding what PAS is. Your section on abused children and their parent’s reuniting, more than children who experienced PAS was very interesting, although it would have been nice to see that developed further, (e.g. why?) perhaps as another blog topic? The progression of your blog was well structured and clear to follow. The issues you raised about sample size and the importance of the, why were the parents divorced question, were well raised and important to make. Your use of graphs was an appropriate visual aid and your blog was concise.
    I was, however, a little confused by the second half of your opening paragraph and I feel that could have been made clearer. Similarly, in some points in the blog you seemed to be saying that PAS was worse with fathers than mothers and then at other points the reverse and I felt that needed to be made clearer.
    I was a little disappointed to see no real development of the Richard, A and Gardnern, M.D, 1999 statement on PAS being worse than sexual or physical abuse. Some expansion, perhaps highlighting pieces of supporting/challenging evidence, besides the reunited parents and children section would have been beneficial, I feel. I am inclined to disagree with the statement, even going so far as to call it bordering on ignorant, to the abuse of which it speaks. Evidence for my view can be found at the links below:
    I thought this was a well put together entry. Well done.

  5. Psue3e: I would like to remind you that the wod limit is 500 words 😉 The layout of this blog was 758 wordsm so i can’t possibly discuss every possible angle and outcome of PAS, as i may udnerstand. Haha. I believ i beifly presented the effects later on in life for a child that have been induces with PAS “But a victim of PAS will never come in contact with
    the targeted parent again.” (,”Parental Alienantion Syndrome?” october, 2011) Another point of issue, How do you know whether You are a victom of PAS? As far as i understand, you don’t. The victim of PAS is not aware of its effects, they just know that the targeted parent is not to be trusted. They’ve been brought up, believing that the emotions he/she has towards the targeted parent are legit, the dont know Why – And thats why PAS is Emotional Abuse ( Parental Alienation Syndrome (2nd edition) speaks Richard, A. and Garndern, MD (1999)) I choose this topic because of personal experience, and if i where to ask ******* why He/She hates the targeted parent the reply would be ” I Don’t know! He/She is just an idiot!”

    You’re speaking of Depression, distress and trust issues. I must say i don’t know, haven’t found anything that supports that. But i can imagine that if your a woman, and your mother used PAS to target you father – You would have a hard time trusting the father of Your children. These are my own thughts are theories only and i haven’t found any supportive evidence yet, maybe thats a great 3rd years experiement! ( If anyone nicks my idea, i will sue 😉 )

    I’m glad you found my topic intresssting! Thanks for your comment and intressting thoughts and questions!

  6. Felicity: I’m now glad that i allowed your comment. The very same question came to my mind, Why won’t the reunite? And how did they come to that conclusion? The paper doesn’t say… Unfortunately I deleted +/- 250 words of my layout, which i now realize i should have kept, or at least saved for comments! I will keep this in mind till next time.

    Regarding the “sometimes Mother, sometimes Father” Problem you had. I chose to vary the terms so that no one would be offended. If i where to only write from the fathers/mothers perspective, the blog would have been one-sided, and i didn’t want to be one-sided in that sense sexist). Since the issue occurs from both sides…Hope that made sense 🙂

    The 2nd article you linked, supporting your rather aggressive final statement was great! Suicide and Suicidal behavior is a great interest of mine! – We all study Psychology for different reasons 😉 I personally don’t think that PAS is worse than Sexual abuse and i will use your source as a source myself. ( )

    However, i am still of the opinion that Emotional abuse is worse than physical abuse – Not saying that PAS is worst case scenario. Say that you are a victim of Emotional Abuse, your entire childhood, even as an adult, your whole life could be ruined! The same rules apply if you’re in an Emotional Abusive relationship* . But can you actually say that one thing is worse than the other?

  7. psuf10 says:

    Hey Tim
    Your blog is really good. You have effectively used statistics and made them easier to understand with the use of graphs. You seem to have a lot of passion for this topic and i really enjoyed reading it however how would you answer the questions at the end. For me the most interesting one is What if the father was an abuser, or the mother a drug addict? for me i believe that the this is a coin toss because depending what type of problem the parent has depends on how much PSA they will show. For example a abuser father is more likely to have pas with a mother doing cocaine due to the symptom of removal and the fact that the mother will become more removed. Do you agree?

  8. I’m not sure i understand your question.. The researchers may have included such questions in their questionaire, but i don’t know. I can asume that if they didn’t take these circumstances into consideration – the validity of this research decreases. Because if the mother of my child were a drug adict/alcoholic that refused help – i would pack my bags and leave and eventually let my child know why mummy isn’t around. I would not call this action practicing PAS. However, thats just my opinion.

    • psuf10 says:

      Hey tim very true about the questionnaire. I was just wondering which characteristics of a parent would cause the most PAS. By the way i thought i would mention that in your essay that you should have mentioned that PAS stood for parental alienation syndrome.

  9. psuf67 says:

    I like the style of your blog and the use of the graphs, the christmas tree shape made a very interesting subject even more interesting as visual aids help me a lot to find out what’s happening. As someone who is interested in learning about emotions and mood disorders I would also have loved to know what sort of effects PAS has on a person, though I do know that you said that it didn’t say. Perhaps trying to find another study that looked into PSA that had more participants and more detail would have given your blog more oomph, but I must admit that reading your blog has made me want to research this syndrome further, thank you for choosing this topic to write about. ^_^

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s