An Inter-Rater Reliability Study of Parental Alienation Syndrome
The dual purpose of this study was to first test the acceptance of the concept of parental alienation among therapists, and secondly, to assess the validity of parental alienation as a syndrome among therapists who are familiar with this phenomenon. The study measured the independent variable, symptoms of parental alienation syndrome, and the dependent variable, therapists' perception of the syndrome. The respondents analyzed five cases using Dr. Richard Gardner's differential diagnosis chart built into a questionnaire for the potential alienator and the child. For the measurements of reliability and inter-rater reliability, the researcher used Microsoft Excel and Kendall's coefficient of concordance. The findings showed a significant level of concordance among raters in all five cases except in Case 2, where there was a lower consensus on the presence of parental alienation syndrome or meeting Dr. Gardner's criteria due to the complexity of the case presentation. Similarly, findings also reflect the relatively recent discovery of this phenomenon, evidenced by some level of apathy from the general population of therapists to get involved. The completed surveys were from therapists familiar with parental alienation syndrome, which indicated their level of understanding of the phenomena and how their views differed from other therapists who were unfamiliar with PAS. The data gathered from the completed surveys was sufficiently reliable to suggest a wider study for the purpose of classification in the next edition of the DSM.