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Maternal Alienation

  • By: Kinitra D. Brooks
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

Maternal alienation is comprised of two distinct, yet overlapping psychological occurrences. The first is characterized by an emotional and/or physical withdrawal of a mother from her child. The second description is delineated by Australian scholar Anne Morris, who defines maternal alienation as a form of psychological abuse performed by violent men as a means of undermining the mother's relationship with her child and solidifying his control over family relations. Maternal alienation must not be confused with parental alienation syndrome (PAS), a controversial theory in which a parent is systematically alienated from his or her child, most often during acrimonious divorce proceedings.

Maternal alienation is particularly characterized by an emotional withdrawal of a mother from her child. It is necessary to note that the significance and depth ...

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