Alienating behaviours in separated mothers and fathers in the UK

Hine, Ben, Harman, Jennifer, Leder-Elder, Sadie and Bates, Elizabeth ORCID logo ORCID: (2024) Alienating behaviours in separated mothers and fathers in the UK. The University of West London.

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Parental Alienating Behaviours (PABs) are the actions taken when one parent tries to harm the relationship between their child and the other parent. This problem is gaining increasing awareness amongst a variety of professionals. To understand it better, we conducted a large survey of over 1,000 separated and/or divorced parents to see how common PABs are and how they impact families. We found that when asked directly, about 39.2% of people said they had experienced PABs. However, when we measured this using specific examples of behaviours, up to 59.1% seemed to have faced PABs. This difference shows that PABs can be hard to identify just by asking people about them, but that they are widespread. We also found that those affected by PABs show greater signs of serious mental stress, like PTSD symptoms, depression, and thoughts of suicide. The way we identify PABs can change these effects, making it crucial to have a full understanding. Participants experiencing PABs also talked about facing more domestic violence, which reflects recent studies from the U.S. and Canada. Considering all this, a two-fold plan is needed. First, we need to boost mental health support by training professionals, creating support groups, and offering counselling to families. It is also key to get schools and the legal system involved. Second, we need to make the public more aware of PABs through large-scale awareness campaigns, which will help society stand against these harmful behaviours. And, of course, we need better research tools to fully understand PABs. In short, PABs are a real and pressing issue. We need a complete response, mixing practical help with improved research.

Item Type: Report
Publisher: The University of West London
Departments: Institute of Health > Psychology and Psychological Therapies
Depositing User: Anna Lupton
Date Deposited: 22 May 2024 12:35
Last Modified: 22 May 2024 12:45


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