Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Psychology


Educational Psychology

First Committee Member

Paul Jones, Co-chair

Second Committee Member

Shannon Smith, Co-chair

Third Committee Member

Pamela Staples

Graduate Faculty Representative

Gerald Weeks

Number of Pages



This is a descriptive study that examined parental abductions from the perspective of the abductee. The results will help counseling professionals better to understand the psychological consequences of parental abduction, coping mechanisms that were used by the abducted children and counseling techniques and strategies that helped the children through this difficult time and after being returned to the left-behind parent.

A 32 multiple choice and short answer questionnaire was developed for this study. The survey consists of 12 closed answer (Yes or No) questions, three open ended questions, and seventeen demographic questions. The questionnaire was given through a phone interview which took approximately 20-60 minutes depending on the participants' responses. The instrument began with closed answer personal questions about the participants' parental abduction, then it asked three open ended personal questions about the parental abduction and ended with demographics of the participant and the parent who abducted the child. The participants were contacted through a social services professional in the field who worked with abducted children. The researcher then called the potential participant and began with the informed consent, if the individual still wished to participate in the study the researcher continued with the survey.

When the surveys were completed, the researcher first transcribed the interviews for the most accurate recording of the data. The researcher then tallied the results for each item and some items were compared to gain knowledge in parental abductions regarding possible consequences of the abduction.

A total of thirteen people participated in the study. Some of the side effects of parental abduction include loss of trust in the opposite sex, trouble making and keeping good friends, things around them feeling dreamlike, trouble recalling important aspects of the abduction, and trouble sleeping and concentrating since the abduction. Coping mechanisms were also looked at in the study. They include: using arts and reading to escape, talking to people about the abduction and process the event. The most helpful part of counseling for the participants was to talk, process the situation and their feelings about the abduction.


Abduction--Psychological aspects; Family counseling; Life skills; Post-traumatic stress disorder--Treatment; Victims of crimes--Counseling of


Child Psychology | Clinical Psychology | Counseling Psychology | Educational Psychology

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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