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12-02-2021 | Original Paper Open Access

What Does it Mean to be a Targeted Parent? Parents’ Experiences in the Context of Parental Alienation

Journal of Child and Family Studies
Ana Tavares, Carla Crespo, Maria Teresa Ribeiro
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The term parental alienation refers to the negative influence of one parent over a child’s perception of the other parent (targeted parent). The aim of this research was to gain further understanding of targeted parents’ experience of parental alienation from their own perspectives. For this qualitative study, a thematic analysis of semi-structured interviews with eight participants aged between 33 and 51 years was conducted. The data from individual semi-structured interviews enabled the identification of four main themes: perception of personal impact, coping strategies, family relationships and support network. Parents identified a serious impairment of their physical and emotional well-being and mainly identified emotion-focused coping strategies to deal with this adverse ongoing situation. Furthermore, they reported changes in key relationships, with emphasis on difficulties in family and social contexts. The contribution of the findings to research and interventions with parents and families experiencing parental alienation are discussed.

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