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This research provides support for a direct comparison between the home and boarding environments, the inference being that boarding staff who fulfil an in loco parentis role have an integral part to play in the developmental outcomes of adolescents (boarders). Research in the area of family functioning has found that adolescents tend to view the family environment more negatively than their parents and that these discrepant perceptions have been linked to both internalising and externalising disorders in adolescents. In an attempt to further clarify the influence of the parenting role of boarding staff and of the boarding environment in general, 121 staff and 415 boarders from schools in Queensland, Australia, were asked to rate the boarding environment on levels of conflict, social support and climate. It was found that boarders, like adolescents in the home environment, perceived significantly higher levels of conflict and lower levels of social support and positive climate than did staff. These findings lend further support to the conceptualisation of the boarding environment as a home away from home. The implications of these findings for boarders’ developmental outcomes are discussed.
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