Reliability and validity of the four‐factor model of parental alienation


Sample selection

In April 2018, 100 names were randomly selected from the Parental Alienation Study Group (PASG) member list, which served as the first round of participants for the survey. PASG is a voluntary free membership organisation comprised of professionals and individuals in the lay public interested in the study of the phenomenon of parental alienation. The website provides up‐to‐date information about books and articles relevant to the topic and provides a forum for members to connect with each other. Twenty‐nine of the 100 were eliminated because the individuals were determined to not be mental health professionals based on a review of the information provided in the PASG member listing. The remaining seventy‐one were invited to participate in the survey study. Of that number, four people responded that they were not mental health professionals, three emails bounced back as invalid, and two people sent emails back in a foreign language. The remaining sixty‐two were considered the first‐round sample for the study. One person declined to participate as too ill; fifty‐seven agreed to participate, and four never responded. The response rate was 92 per cent (57 out of 62).

An additional forty‐nine names were offered by the participants in a snowball fashion. Of this group, seventeen individuals were eliminated because they were not mental health professionals. Invitations were sent to the remaining thirty‐two people. Two people declined to participate, eight never responded, and twenty‐two people agreed to participate (68 per cent response rate, 22 out of 32). The total response rate for the study was 84 per cent (57 + 22) divided by (62 + 32). Of the seventy‐nine people who agreed to complete the survey, several surveys were improperly completed. The final completion rate was 68 out of 79 (86 per cent).


Table 1 presents the sociodemographic characteristics of the study participants.

Table 1. Sample characteristics
N %
Male 20 29.9
PASG member 45 66.2
From USA 47 69.1
Master’s degree 30 46.9
psychology 34 52.3
counselling 11 16.9
social work 9 13.8
MFT 4 06.2
Other 7 10.5
20‒39 8 11.9
40‒59 35 52.2
60‒79 24 35.8
Number of years…. Mean (SD) Range
Conducting custody evaluations 9.9 (13.4) 0 to 50
Conducting reunification treatment 8.8 (9.8) 0 to 37
Testifying in court about parental alienation 11.9 (13.) 0 to 50
Conducting research on parental alienation 6.4 (12.3) 0 to 45
Coaching parents dealing with parental alienation 10.5 (11.2) 0 to 50
Providing training to professionals about parental alienation 11.1 (11.7) 0 to 45

As can be seen, of the sixty‐eight participants with valid surveys, two‐thirds were PASG members. Two‐thirds were from the US and the remaining one‐third were from twelve other countries (Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia, Sweden and the United Kingdom). Two‐thirds were female. The sample ranged in age from 27 to 78 with a mean of 55.7 years (SD = 11.5 years). Professional backgrounds included doctorates (n = 54%) and master’s level (46%) degrees in a range of fields including psychology, medicine, law, family therapy, and counselling.

In terms of number of years working in the field of parental alienation/alignment/estrangement, they had on average 9.9 (SD = 13.4) years conducting custody evaluations (range = 0 to 50 years), 8.8 (SD = 9.8) years conducting reunification therapy (range 0 to 37 years), 11.9 (SD = 13.0) years testifying in court (range 0 to 50 years), 6.4 (12.3) years conducting research (range 0 to 45 years), 10.5 (SD = 11.2) years providing parent coaching (range 0 to 50), and 11.1 (SD = 11.7) years conducting trainings in the field (range 0 to 45 years).

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