Participant Information Sheet

Thank you for your interest in the study. You are being invited to take part in a research study.  Before you decide it is important for you to read this information so you understand why the study is being carried out and what it will involve.

Reading this information, discussing it with others or asking any questions you might have will help you decide whether or not you would like to take part.

What is the Purpose of the Study?
I am a researcher at Northumbria University interested in how the restrictions related to COVID19 have affected people’s well-being and how people have responded to it emotionally. While the social distancing measures have been necessary from a public health perspective, it is recognised that for many people the conditions have had an effect on well-being. I would like to gather information from you to understand how people’s environment and the COVID-19 restrictions influence people’s emotions. This study is not externally funded.

Why have I been invited? 
For the current study, people who live in the Southern Hemisphere are being invited to take part as long as you are 18 years or older. It is important to get as many people involved in the study as possible so there are no restrictions to taking part. 

Do I have to take part? 
It is up to you whether you would like to take part in the study.  This information sheet will help you to decide whether you would like to be involved. If you do decide to take part, remember that you can stop being involved in the study whenever you choose, without telling me why. You will just need to close your web browser, incomplete responses will not be used in the final dataset. You are completely free to decide whether or not to take part, or to take part and then leave the study before completion. Your decision about taking part will not effect your relationship with myself or Northumbria University.

What will happen if I take part?
This study has two phases to it, both involve answering some questions online about you, your circumstances and how you feel. The first phase will take around 15 minutes to complete. You will be asked about your living circumstances, how you feel in general as well as about how you feel about the COVID19 restrictions and the impact they have had on how you feel. I would also like to know how you think you will feel in September 2021 when restrictions are likely to have changed. 

I will ask for your email address. This is being collected so that I can contact you again in September 2021 to see how you feel at that time. You do not need to take part in the September 2021 questions if you do not want to, you can just complete the first set of questions. Having responses from you in September 2021 will allow me to see whether you, at that time, feel the way you projected that you would. Once the two phases of data collection have been completed, I will use your email address to link the two occasions you responded and then your email address will be deleted and each person will only be identified by a number. This means that your information will be de-identified and no one will be able to trace your responses back to you. This will keep your responses confidential and only I will see your email address. 

You are free to take part in this current phase and will be able to decide at a later date whether to complete the second phase. I will send you an email about the second phase in September 2021. I am interested in understanding how changed circumstance influence how people feel in general. This work will contribute towards helping to understand our ability as humans to predict our emotional states in the future.
Every effort has been taken to word questions in a non-intrusive and sensitive way. However, some people may become upset while completing these questions because it might mean you reflect on your current circumstances. If this is the case please approach a friend, relative or GP to raise your concerns. Alternatively please approach the links below to gain additional information and sources of support:

Kooth provides anonymous online support for mental well-being regardless of location:

https://www.kooth.com/

My Black Dog provides online support to adults experiencing mental health difficulties regardless of location:

https://www.myblackdog.co/

How will my data be stored, and how long will it be stored for?
The data is being collected through Survey Monkey which will only be accessed by myself and is password protected. Once the study has been completed, the data will be downloaded and stored on a password protected computer. When the two time points of information have been linked your email address will be deleted from the file. This will happen approximately three months after the study has been completed. At this time each individual will only be identified by a number, this will ensure your information is de-identified and no one will be able to trace your responses back to you. For presentation or publications aggregate or average data is presented where no one individual will be identifiable.

In some instances, journals require that data be placed in a repository in line with transparency in science. The data that will be stored in the deidentified form with email addresses removed so no one individual will be identifiable. If you are interested, I will be able to provide you with a summary of the research findings. Please feel free to get in touch with me on the email listed below if you would like me to send you a summary of the results at the end of the study.

This study uses what is called tacit consent. This means that by submitting your responses you are agreeing to your responses being used for research purposes in the manner outlined on this information sheet. If you change your mind about being involved in the study after you have submitted your responses, contact me with your email address and I will be able to remove your responses. While completing the questions, if you change your mind about being involved, close your web browser.  If you have any questions or concerns about any of this, please get in touch with me on the email address below.

Who has reviewed this study?
The research project, submission reference 28467 has been approved by Northumbria University ethics process prior to the study starting.

If you have any questions about the study or would like more information, please get in touch with Emma Barkus on emma.barkus@northumbria.ac.uk

Thank you for your time. Please click Next below to move onto the questions.

T