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This systematic denigration by one parent of the other, with the intent of alienating the child, is a symptom of depression and dependence.
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Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) is a theoretical disorder in children that arises almost exclusively in child custody disputes. In most PAS cases the mother "programs" the children to hate the father - often leading to false allegations of sexual abuse. This Comment examines PAS theory in light of the causation problems raised by assigning blame in an area that psychologists and courts recognise as extremely uncertain. It also observes that there is no empirical evidence supporting the theory, nor has PAS been subjected to meaningful peer review or publication. In fact, experts in the field have widely discredited the theory. The Comment then argues that PAS is dangerous because its wide dissemination in the legal community, via the PAS originator's self-published works, lends an undeserved aura of reliability to the theory. Finally, this Comment recommends that PAS testimony be excluded, but recognises that in light of Daubert v. Merrell...
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Last updated - 12 July 1998