The six emergent factors in the Q analysis portrayed pictures of alienated parents at various stages of their journey. These are fully explored else- where (Whitcombe, 2016a) but included in brief here to aid discussion. The factors are:
moving on, reluctantly accepting the loss of a child despite ongoing fears for their child’s psychological well-being
a confident, concerned parent, feeling powerless in a biased, abusive system
psychological distress, guilt and an uncertain future
a worried parent struggling to maintain a connection
optimistic, despite emotional distress and their child’s barriers
measured, yet hopeful, acceptance based on an under- standing of the process.
A great deal of consensus between the 54 participants in the study was evident from the raw Q sort data; there was a dominance of five of the Q set statements in the extremes of the individual Q sorts.
the legal process or Cafcass further alienated or dam- aged my child
(agreed by 39 participants, 14 rating this response as +4 or +5)
I feel as though the authorities or legal system are fair, unbiased or supportive of me
(disagreed with by 48 participants, 25 rating this response as -4 or -5)
I found the expert witness, Cafcass or police to be biased by information given by my former partner
(agreed with by 39 participants, 12 rating this response as +4 or +5)
My ex-partner wants to delete me/my family from my child’s life
(agreed with by 45 participants, 21 rating this response as +4 or +5)
I have no concerns about my child’s mental/emotional/psychological health
(disagreed with by 46 participants, 32 rating this as -4 or -5).