College of Psychology: Faculty Articles

Title

A Critical Analysis of Parental Alienation Syndrome and Its Admissibility in the Family Court

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2004

Keywords

Parental alienation syndrome, Daubert, custody, family violence, gender, psychological evaluation

Publication Title

Journal of Child Custody

ISSN

1537-9418

Volume

1

Issue/No.

2

Peer Reviewed

1

Abstract

Over the past three decades, parental alienation syndrome (PAS) has been proposed to explain behaviors by a child who refuses to spend time with a parent and actually denigrates that parent within the context of a child custody dispute. Although some mental health professionals and child custody evaluators, attorneys, and judges have been quick to accept and admit PAS as evidence in these disputes, there has been no consistent empirical or clinical evidence that PAS exists or that the alienator's behavior is the actual cause of the alienated child's behavior towards the target parent. This article attempts to help those working with custody issues understand how the PAS construct fails to meet scientific standards and should not be admissible in courts.

DOI

10.1300/J190v01n02_03