This review of research and case law on the topic of parental alienation
aims to provide an evidence base to guide practice for Cafcass Cymru.
The notion of parental alienation was first recognised by Wallerstein and
Kelly in 1976, but it was Gardner’s assertion in 1987 that parental
alienation was a syndrome, that is, a mental condition suffered by
children who had been alienated by their mothers, which has led to
debate over the last 30 years. However, despite a wealth of papers
written by academics, legal and mental health professionals, there is a
dearth of empirical evidence on the topic.
Research in this area is dominated by only a few authors who appear
polarised in their acceptance or rejection of the nature and prevalence
of parental alienation. Such variability means that there is no
commonly accepted definition of parental alienation and insufficient
scientific substantiation regarding the identification, treatment and…
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