University of Leicester
2020HarrisCdclinpsy.pdf (4.3 MB)

Men who report difficulties in adult relationships and the links they make to their boarding school experiences: a thematic analysis

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posted on 2020-12-02, 12:25 authored by Craig Harris
Systematic Literature Review: Twenty-six articles investigating the psychological experiences of boarding students were identified and subjected to a systematic analysis. Some studies indicated that boarders experience higher levels of psychological distress (especially soon after boarding transition), experience greater incidences of bullying victimisation, engage in more bullying perpetration, and may be at a higher risk of presenting with eating disorder psychopathology. However, other results reported general parity between wellbeing outcomes for boarders and non-boarders, or modest benefits for boarders measures of wellbeing and personality characteristics. Analysis highlighted the lack of research conducted in UK boarding schools, and the need for further research with extended follow-ups. Limitations of the literature and recommendations for professional practice and future research are discussed. Research Paper: Thematic analysis was used to explore the experiences of male ex-boarders who had identified experiences of difficulties in relationships. Three superordinate themes were presented: Disempowerment depicted how participants felt powerless or controlled by others, and the impact this had in later relationships; Suppressing aspects of self and personality related to how participants described hiding emotions or parts of their personality to ‘get by’, and how these strategies presented in adulthood; and A process of recovery was concerned with how participants sought ways to ‘recover’ from their experiences. Findings were discussed in relation to existing theory and literature and highlighted the importance for educational and care institutions to recognise ideological powers, as well as the use of therapeutic interventions that are underpinned by theories of attachment.



Alice Welham

Date of award


Author affiliation

Department of Neuroscience, Psychology and Behaviour

Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • DClinPsy



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