Previous studies have demonstrated a connection between intimate partner violence (IPV) and a child’s alienation from the abused parent, but little is known about the relationships between the type of IPV, aspects, and severity of a child’s alienation, and the target parent’s gender. This study assessed the presence of an IPV history (verbal and physical aspects) among parents who identify as targets of their children’s unreasonable rejection. Also investigated were associations between the form of IPV and manifestations of a child’s alienated behavior, parent’s gender and type of IPV, and parents’ gender and degree of the child’s alienation. Self-identified alienated parents ( n = 842) completed an online survey that included an IPV screening measurement (Hurts, Insults, Screams, Threatens screening tool) and a measure of the parent’s perception of their child’s alienated behaviors (Rowlands Parental Alienation Scale). The majority identified as IPV victims and reported a higher level of verbal than physical abuse. More mothers than fathers identified themselves as IPV victims. As a group, IPV victims rated their child as more severely alienated than did non-IPV alienated parents. Mothers were more likely than fathers to report physical aggression by the other parent and more likely than fathers to assess their child’s alienated behaviors as more severe. Victims of physical violence reported their children were less likely to withhold positive affection from them. This knowledge may assist in earlier identification of the alienation process and greater recognition, legitimacy, funding, and opportunities for enhanced collaboration among stakeholders. This, in turn, may lead to improvements in prevention, intervention, and accountability, thus helping to interrupt alienation processes.
Rowlands, G. A., Warshak, R. A., & Harman, J. J. (2023). Abused and Rejected: The Link Between Intimate Partner Violence and Parental Alienation. Partner Abuse, 14(1), 37–58. https://doi.org/10.1891/PA-2022-0001
Rowlands, Gena A., et al. “Abused and Rejected: The Link Between Intimate Partner Violence and Parental Alienation.” Partner Abuse, vol. 14, no. 1, Jan. 2023, pp. 37–58, https://doi.org/10.1891/PA-2022-0001.