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The relation of separated home background to student’s perception of the school environment Bartman, Lynne Yvonne

Abstract

The effect of separated home background on students' perception of the school environment as measured by the School Environment Assessment Scales (SEAS) is explored. Three hypotheses are advanced. The first proposes that students from separated homes will have a different perception of the school environment when compared with students of intact homes. The second suggests that there will be a difference in perception depending on the age of the student when parental separation took place. The third hypothesis indicates that there will be a difference in perception between male and female students of separated homes. In the first part of the study, 120 students from separated homes are compared with 120 students from intact homes. Results from this comparison demonstrate that there is a statistically significant difference at the .01 probability level between these two groups of students on Authoritarian Press, one of the eight SEAS scales. Contrary to expectations; students from separated homes perceived the school environment as less authoritarian. On the seven remaining SEAS scales, there is no statistically significant difference between these two groups. However, there is some indication that students from separated homes perceived a few more aspects of the school environment in a more favorable way. This more positive perception, even though conjectural in nature, cannot be neglected; implications of this trend are explored. In the second part of the study, intra-group comparisons on 117 students from separated homes on two variables, age at onset of parental separation and sex, are examined. There is no statistically significant difference on any of the SEAS scales between students whose parents separated when they were age 0-6, and students who were over age 6. On the variable sex, the female group scored significantly higher on two scales. On the Heterosexual Social Expression Scale, the level of significance reached the .01 level. On the Creative Self-Expression Scale, the level of significance reached the .05 level. Females perceived themselves as being more encouraged to interact with members of the opposite sex, and as being more encouraged to express themselves creatively. On the other six SEAS scales, there is no statistically significant difference between male and female groups.

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