University of Tasmania
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Parental alienation : a qualitative investigation of the experience of targeted adult children

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posted on 2023-05-27, 23:43 authored by Bentley, CAR
This study was conducted to investigate the lived experience of targeted adult children who have experienced parental alienation. The aim of the study was to develop an understanding of the meaning they ascribe to their experience of parental alienation. Ten targeted adult children provided comments, reflections and narratives during a 60 to 90-minute semi-structured, qualitative interview about their experience, how they coped with it, the impact it has had on their lives and the meaning they make from their experience. Braun and Clarke's (2006) framework of thematic analysis was used to identify themes within the data. Seven themes were identified illustrating targeted adult children's experience of parental alienation. Findings indicated that targeted adult children had been severely impacted by their experience of parental alienation. Specifically, they reported experiencing anxiety and depression, low self-worth, guilt, attachment problems, difficulty with forming and maintaining healthy relationships, and reduced or delayed educational and career attainment. Participants also described the intergenerational transmission of alienation and trauma. However, targeted adult children also demonstrated great resilience. These results demonstrate that children's exposure to parental alienation can have life-long ramifications for their psychological well-being, and highlights a need for pro-active early identification and intervention with children who are at risk of experiencing parental alienation. It was concluded that further research is required to facilitate the development of such interventions


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  • Unpublished

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Copyright 2019 the author Author also known as Caitlin Reed

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