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The trouble with Harman and Lorandos’s attempted refutation of the Meier et al. Family court study

NCJ Number
Date Published
February 2022
23 pages

Since Harman and Lorandos assert that they have produced a study analyzing custody cases involving alienation allegations, which “disconfirms” the findings from the current authors’ study of family court outcomes in cases involving abuse and alienation, In addition to pointing out the authors’ misrepresentation and mis-reporting of some of their findings, this Response details a series of profound flaws in their study’s design, dataset construction, and variable coding, interpretations, and analytic approach, as well as a series of statistical errors.


The statistical analyses demonstrate that Harman and Lorandos’s five findings of a gender bias in favor of fathers are not supported by their data; the only statistically significant findings that persist after re-analysis of the correct data are consistent with the Meier et al. study. These pervasive design and methodological errors undermine both the appearance and assertion of rigor in their approach; these problems and the foundational differences in their dataset from the current authors’ own disqualify their study from serving as any kind of credible test or disconfirmation of the current authors’ study. (Publisher Abstract)

Date Published: February 1, 2022