Registering interest to participate in interviews



The research study aims to gain insight into the experiences, perspectives, and narratives of former therapeutic boarding school students. Interviews with former students are the main aspect of research. To find people interested in being interviewed, those who would like to participate in interviews are being asked to register their interest. A selection of those who have registered will be invited to participate in  interviews, either in person, over the phone, or by Skype. 


The registration process and interviews are confidential and voluntary. In order to participate in the research, you need to be 18 years of age or older and have been a boarding student in at least one therapeutic boarding school in the USA.

Registration should take around 15 minutes to complete. You can stop and return to complete the registration, or choose to stop participating at any point.


Who can participate

Participants should be 18 years of age or older and have been a boarding student in at least one therapeutic boarding school in the USA. For the purposes of this research, a therapeutic boarding school is a residential school or academy aimed at teenagers who are considered to have mental health problems or substance misuse issues. They may also be known as ‘emotional growth boarding schools’. The schools typically run 365 days a year, have on-site accommodation, have at least several hours of taught classes on an average weekday, and limit contact with family and peers outside of the school.


About the researcher


I am Sarah Golightley, a Social Work PhD student at the University of Edinburgh, UK. My background is in social work practice and mental health research. As a former therapeutic boarding school student myself, I aim to produce unique research on how former students describe their experience of therapeutic boarding schools.

What the registration involves


The registration is short and, on average, it should take less than 15-20 minutes to complete. The registration process will primarily be asking some details on who you are, what part of the USA (or rest of the world) you are currently living in, which therapeutic boarding school you attended and when you attended. You do not have to answer any questions you do not want to answer and you can stop participating at any point.


Follow-up Interviews


A selection of those who have registered their interest will be invited to be interviewed. All participants have important insight but time and geographical constraints mean that only a small number of participants can be interviewed in-depth. Interview participants will be selected on a variety of factors—including geographic location, availability to interview, and to ensure a diverse background of participants. More information on the interviews will be provided at the point of invitation, or by request. If you complete the registration and are invited to interview, you can choose to do the interview, or decide not to be interviewed.



The registration process includes asking for your name and for some contact details. This information is being asked in order that you can be contacted for a follow-up interview. Information will be stored securely, according to UK research council security regulations, and your information will be kept confidential. Your personal information will NOT be shared with any outside institutions or individuals. In publications based on the research, your responses will be anonymous and any identifying information removed. After the study, anonymous results will be deposited to the UK Research Data Archive.



The registration does not ask for in-depth information, however, the research topic can itself be sensitive and may bring up difficult emotions and memories. You can complete the registration at your own pace and you can stop at any time. This research has been approved by the School of Social and Political Science Board of Ethics, University of Edinburgh, Scotland.


Conflict of interest

There are no known conflicts of interest. The researcher has no financial, familial or personal investment in the therapeutic boarding school industry. The research is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, a UK research funding organization that has no known connections to the therapeutic boarding school industry.



The registration process is designed to be compatible with most computer and smart phone assistive technologies for people with disabilities.