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Browsing by Author "Mikkola, Iiris"

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  • Mikkola, Iiris (2017)
    Objectives. Parental alienation happens as a parent tries to damage the relationship between their ex-partner and child. Alienation strategies are for example denigration of the estranged parent, or controlled communication. Parental alienation exists approximately in one out of ten divorced families, typically with custody conflict. Parental alienation has a radical effect on the well-being of the whole family, especially on the relationship between the rejected parent and the child. This study focused on the impact of parental alienation on the rejected parent’s mental health measured with symptoms of depression and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In addition, differences between mothers and fathers, impact of stress, and importance of social support were considered. Methods. Altogether 147 answers (45 mothers, 102 fathers) were collected during spring 2017 via an internet questionnaire from participants who had experienced parental alienation. Nearly half of the participants did not see their child anymore. Mental health was assessed after collecting background information; posttraumatic stress disorder (Impact of Event Scale, IES), depression (BDI-21), stress (Cohen’s Perceived Stress Scale), and life changes (Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale) were evaluated. Logistic regression analysis was conducted. Results and conclusions. According to the results the rejected parents were experiencing severe mental symptoms. Mothers reported more severe PTSD-symptoms and experienced stress compared to fathers. Stress and social support were the most important variables predicting both posttraumatic stress disorder and depression. These results support the assumption other studies have indicated: parents’ well-being has deteriorated after losing contact with their child due to parental alienation.