Professor Publishes Research on Parental Alienation in the US

HIGH POINT, N.C., July 22, 2016 – High Point University assistant professor of psychology Sadie Leder Elder partnered with the HPU Survey Research Center and researchers from Colorado State University for a study on the prevalence of parental alienation in the U.S. The results were published recently in an article, titled “Prevalence of Parental Alienation Drawn from a Representative Poll,” in the journal Children and Youth Services Review.

Parental alienation involves actions a parent takes to intentionally or unintentionally distance a child from their other parent. Such behaviors can include undermining the other parent, calling him or her a derogatory name or directly sabotaging a child’s relationship with the other parent. Elder and her collaborators found that a substantial number of parents are potentially alienated from their children.

In a survey of 610 North Carolina adults conducted by the HPU Survey Research Center in November 2015, more than 13 percent of parents – or 9 percent of all adults in the sample – reported being alienated. Based on these percentages, the researchers estimate that in the U.S. as a whole, more than 22 million adults are potentially alienated from their children.

“The degree of parental alienation revealed by this research indicates just how pervasive this problem is,” Elder says. “Our hope is that this work will bring awareness and promote greater research attention, funding and policy changes needed to further understand how this problem impacts our society. I’m proud to have worked with this team of researchers to provide more clarity on an unfortunate relationship phenomenon impacting our nation.”

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