The authors of a new study found that people with a parental alienation condition (PE) have better performance on social skills than their peers with a non-condition (NC).
The findings, published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, were conducted by researchers at the University of Queensland and the University in Victoria, who examined social communication between people with and without the condition, and also looked at the social skills of parents and children.
They say their results suggest PE is not only a disorder, but an aspect of social interaction in the human brain.
“The results showed that individuals with PE and those without the disorder had different social skills,” the study authors, who were not involved in the study, said in a statement.
“This finding was in line with previous studies that found that parents with PE tended to be better communicators than those without, and children with PE were more attentive than their non-PE peers.”
The study used data from the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network (ADDMN), which collects data from thousands of Australians.
It looked at information from over 2,000 children who participated in the ADDMN in 2017.
The researchers said they found the most striking difference in the children who were children of parents with the condition were in their social skills.
The children with the most difficulties communicating with their parents were those with a history of psychological distress and poor social skills in general.
“In particular, these children demonstrated poorer social skills when interacting with their own parents,” they said.
“We hypothesised that parents who experience psychological distress might also be particularly affected by a child’s tendency to seek out their own experiences of their own distress.”
The researchers say it’s important to recognise that many people with PE do have the condition and that it’s possible to overcome it.
“Parents with this condition can have a number of benefits, but their most significant benefit is that they can work to overcome the psychological distress they experience and learn to function with more confidence in their own and others’ roles as parents,” the authors wrote.
“This may involve developing coping strategies and taking more responsibility for their own lives.”