Investigating compassion, attachment and psychological factors in relation to boarding school experiences

Hernandez, Lolly (Lauren)

Clinical psychology
August 2021

Thesis or dissertation

© 2021 Lolly (Lauren) Hernandez. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

This thesis portfolio comprises of three parts:
Part one- Systematic Literature Review
The systematic literature review explored the psychological impact of boarding school. A systematic search of five databases found eight quantitative papers that met the inclusion criteria. The Quality Assessment Tool for Quantitative Studies (Effective Public Health Practice Project, 1998) was used to evaluate the quality of the studies, whilst narrative synthesis was used to bring the studies together. Four superordinate themes were identified: mental health difficulties, mental health strengths, relationships and emotional responses. The findings revealed a range of positive and negative psychological impacts, some of which did not appear to be solely associated with boarding school attendance. Clinical implications and areas for further research are explored.
Part two- Empirical Paper
The empirical report explored compassion, self-criticism and attachment style in adult ex-boarders, relative to adult ex-day students. Participants completed an online questionnaire consisting of measures of compassion, self-criticism and attachment style. They also answered questions related to their school environment. Participants also reported which experiences from boarding school had influenced them most in their adult life. Correlational and regression analyses aimed to explore whether there were differences between ex-boarders and ex-day students in terms of compassion, self-criticism and attachment and what factors may predict these three areas. Content analysis explored the common themes with regard to the influential experiences of the adult ex-boarders. The findings suggest that ex-boarders may struggle to experience others as compassionate and be compassionate towards others and be more likely to have insecure attachment styles. However, no differences in self-compassion and self-criticism between ex-boarders and ex-day students were identified. A range of positive and negative experiences were reported by ex-boarders to have influenced them in their adult lives. The results are discussed in the context of previous literature. Clinical implications and recommendations for future research are also discussed.
Part three- Appendices
Part three consists of appendices relating to the systematic literature review and empirical report. It also contains epistemological and reflective statements.

Department of Psychological Health, Wellbeing and Social Work, The University of Hull
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