Marla Morden, Instructor of Psychology Vancouver Island University, VIU Marla.Morden@viu.ca
I am an instructor of psychology at Vancouver Island University (VIU). I would like to invite you to take part in my research, entitled “School Experiences and Mental Health during COVID-19” which aims to describe how schooling decisions made duringCOVID-19 have impacted Canadian caregivers and their children. Canadian families with caregivers who are at least 19 years of age and have a child living with them at least 50% of the time are invited to participate. Families with children living in multi-caregiver families are invited to participate; all caregivers are welcome to provide feedback. Families with multiple children are equally invited to participate; we ask that you complete separate child-focused forms for each child that you would like to include, and that each child who assents to being part of the study answer their own form. Please note that if it only your child(ren) who would like to participate in this study, they are invited to do so (with your consent, please see below).
Your participation is voluntary:
You are being asked to voluntarily participate in a longitudinal study. If you decide to participate, you may choose to withdraw from the research at any time without any negative consequences. You do not need to supply any reasons for your decision to decline participation.
Background and Purpose:
COVID-19 is an exceptional global event that has altered how we navigate our social environments on many levels. My hope is that my research will contribute to the knowledge of how exceptional world events impacts how we experience school, and may even shed important insights on how to best support families should an event like this happen again.
What does this study involve:
This research involves being emailed or mailed a packet of forms three times this year (fall, winter/spring, and summer) and two times for four additional years (fall and early summer). The packet will contain a self-addressed and stamped envelope, that we will ask you to return to us via the mail (or email). The packet of forms will include some health related questions and open-ended interview type questions to probe your recent/current experience at school. You have the option of answering these questions over the phone with the researcher.
You can also expect some standard surveys that will explore current stress levels, and how you feel that your child(ren) is doing in terms of behaviour and mental health. Some of the questions are meant to be answered with one child in mind.
Finally, with your permission, we will also ask you to ask your child(ren)if they’d like to share their feelings about how school is going. (Please see separate Assent form). If they agree to participate, we’ll ask that you record your child(ren)’s impressions on school so far. It’s OK if you don’t want your child(ren) to participate, and/or your child(ren) don’t want to participate – there is no pressure, and caregivers are still welcome to participate if the child(ren) do not want to. With your consent, children are likewise invited to participate if caregivers do not want to.
Please note that children living part-time with different caregivers are invited to participate. All parties are welcome to sign the consent.
Benefits and Harm:
There is no direct benefit to you for taking part in this study. It is hoped that the research will contribute salient information in regards to the experience of school systems during a global pandemic. As we recognize that school may be causing considerable stress for families at this time, there is a risk that some of the questions may make you uncomfortable. It is possible that in reflecting on your answers, you may experience feelings of increased vulnerability, or a sense of distress or loss. There are local support-resources listed at the start and end of the survey (https:// www.crisisservicescanada.ca/en/looking-for-local-resources-support/).
Furthermore, answering these questions may pose a perceived or actual risk to your privacy. To mitigate both of these risks, please remember that you are free to decline to answer any question that you do not wish to answer. Also note that you may withdraw from participation at any time.
Your privacy is important to us. Therefore, all participants will be given a participant ID, and all personally identifiable information will be stored in locked cabinet or password protected computer. All personal information will be scrubbed from the data before we run analyses. Please use the provided participant ID – do not include your name or contextual information that might directly or indirectly identify you.
Please also note that there are limits to the privacy and confidentiality of email, such as emails being sent to the wrong recipient, being forwarded without consent, and being hacked or intercepted by third parties. Steps will be taken by the researcher to assure your email and information is protected, including maintaining confidentiality of all electronic communications, and quickly deleting the emails that contain all data packets. There may be further privacy risks depending on where your email host stores information; information stored outside of Canada is not subject to Canada’s privacy laws.
Cost and reimbursement:
There is no cost for you to participate in this research. At the conclusion of each time point families will be entered into a draw to win a $50.00 Amazon gift card. One gift card will be awarded per family, but each participating member will be entered into the draw. So, for example, if a family includes one caregiver and two children, three participants will be entered into the draw. In situations where two caregivers who are living in separate homes participate, the award will be 2 gift cards of $25.00, one for each household. Please note that should you withdraw from the study, you will be included in all draws up until the time that you withdraw.
Management of Research information/Data:
Data stored by the researcher will be locked or password protected, and previous years will be stored in an encrypted folder on an external hard driver that is kept in a locked cabinet, or in VIU’s Dataverse which will provide secure storage of research data and is expected to be running by fall 2021. Only the primary researcher or members of the research team will have access to the data as collected. Data that is collected to ensure longitudinal tracking of participants will be destroyed after completion of the study, approximately June 2025. Coded data will be securely stored and preserved for two years after the end of the project; it will be deleted and shredded and cross-shredded by approximately June 2027.
Use of research information:
The results of this study may be used for conference publications, presentations, and published in academic journals.
Participation and withdrawal:
You have the right to withdraw from the research at any time. If you wish to review and potentially make changes to the survey answers, you may do so at any time while the study is active (ie before the end of the year 2025). If you choose to withdraw from the study, all information you provided would be withdrawn from the study and destroyed.
Limits to confidentiality:
In conducting research, we have a primary obligation to protect the confidentiality and privacy of participants. However, as is true of all Canadian citizens, if any of the research products reveal that a participant is at immediate risk of significant harm, the researcher has a duty to report this information to the proper authorities.
Consent and conditions of consent:
I consent to participate in this research
in accordance with the conditions described above.
I consent for my child(ren) to participate in this research in accordance with the conditions described above.
I consent to being quoted in the products of the research.
I consent to being audio recorded (telephone interview)
Participant Name ___________________________________________________________
I, Marla Morden , promise to adhere to the procedures described in this consent form.
Principal Investigator Signature __________________________
If you have any concerns about your treatment as a research participant in this study, please contact the Vancouver Island University Research Ethics Board at email@example.com or (250) 740-6631.