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Available online 2 November 2021
The so-called parental alienation syndrome and its derivations
El llamado síndrome de alienación parental y sus derivaciones
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Juan Gabriel de la Cruza,
Corresponding author
, Julio Antonio Guijab, María del Mar Pastorc
a Servicio de Clínica Forense, Instituto de Medicina Legal y Ciencias Forenses de Cáceres, Cáceres, Spain
b Servicio de Psiquiatría Forense, Instituto de Medicina Legal y Ciencias Forenses de Sevilla, Sevilla, Spain
c Sección Unidad de Valoración Forense Integral, Instituto de Medicina Legal y Ciencias Forenses de Alicante, Alicante, Spain
Received 04 February 2021. Accepted 15 June 2021
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Tables (3)
Table 1. Parental alienation syndrome.
Table 2. Definition of parental alienation according to Darnall21.
Table 3. Clinical complaints and problems included in DSM-5 which may help to define a situation of parental alienation.
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Abstract

The denigration of one parent by the other would be one of the most damaging effects for the child in situations of family breakdown, although the so-called parental alienation syndrome (Gardner) as a supposed childhood mental disorder, has not obtained acceptance in psychiatric classifications nor the necessary validity and scientific support, so its use by mental health professionals, experts and lawyers should be avoided. Instead, one can use the diagnostic criteria contemplated by the international diagnostic psychiatric classifications that we describe. It is essential to establish the differential diagnosis based on the symptom of rejection of a parent, an issue that involves difficulty and may require the assistance of a multidisciplinary team to adequately evaluate all the evaluable aspects. Professionals must act with knowledge of the limits of their science, providing those data and conclusions that are legitimate and valid according to this premise.

Keywords:
Parental alienation syndrome
Conflictive divorce
Child abuse
Forensic medicine
Forensic psychiatry
DSM-5
Multidisciplinary assessment
Resumen

La denigración de un progenitor por el otro sería uno de los efectos más dañinos para el menor en situaciones de ruptura familiar, si bien el llamado Síndrome de Alienación Parental (Gardner) como supuesto trastorno mental infantil, no ha obtenido la aceptación en las clasificaciones psiquiátricas internacionales, ni la necesaria validez y soporte científico, por lo que debería evitarse su empleo por profesionales de la salud mental, peritos y juristas. En su lugar, cabe valerse de los criterios diagnósticos contemplados por las clasificaciones psiquiátricas diagnósticas internacionales que describimos. Es esencial establecer el diagnóstico diferencial a partir del síntoma del rechazo hacia un progenitor, cuestión que entraña dificultad y puede requerir el concurso de un equipo multidisciplinar para valorar adecuadamente todos los aspectos evaluables. Los profesionales han de obrar con conocimiento de los límites de su ciencia, aportando aquellos datos y conclusiones que sean legítimos y válidos según tal premisa.

Palabras clave:
Síndrome de alienación parental
Divorcio conflictivo
Maltrato infantil
Medicina forense
Psiquiatría forense
DSM-5
Valoración multidisciplinaria

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