You are being invited to take part in research on blogging and resilience. Dennis Relojo-Howell, a PhD student in clinical psychology at the University of Edinburgh, is leading this research.
Before you decide to take part, it is important you understand why the research is being conducted and what it will involve. The project is being conducted under the supervision of Dr Laura Cariola and Dr Mark Hoelterhoff (both from University of Edinburgh). This study has been approved by the SHSS (School of Health in Social Science) Research Ethics Committee of the University of Edinburgh.
Please take time to read the following information carefully.
The purpose of this study is to understand which writing activity (whether blogging or diary writing) can promote positive mental health outcomes among young adults aged 18–24.
You are invited to participate in this study because you have met the eligibility criteria including: aged 18–24; have a stable internet connection; can access internet from a private device; have email address; and able to read and write English. We are inviting young adults who can take part in writing activities (either blogging or diary writing), and we hope to have around 50 young adults (age 18–24) take part.
No – it is entirely up to you. If you decide to take part, please keep this Information Sheet and complete the Informed Consent Form to show that you understand your rights in relation to the research, and that you are happy to participate. You may decide to stop being part of this research study at any time without explanation. You are free to withdraw or stop from the study at any time point, and if you wish to withdraw your data entirely, then contact the researcher (firstname.lastname@example.org) before your data is analysed on 01 August 2023. Any data up until this point will be audio recorded and used.
Should you wish to withdraw, please note down your participant number (which you can find from the Qualtrics survey – the questionnaires that you answered) and provide this to the lead researcher if you seek to withdraw from the study later. If you wish your data to be completely withdrawn from the study, then you must email this request by 01 August 2027.
Participants will be randomly assigned to one of two conditions: (i) blogging group (i.e., the group who will be invited to publish one blogpost per week for two months); and (ii) diary writing group (i.e., the group who will be invited to maintain a private diary writing).
Participants in the blogging group will be requested to publish a 200–500-word blogpost through the Psychreg Resilience Project (PReP) website (https://www.prep.psychreg.org), and devoted to blogging at least 20 minutes each time, based on the specific themes each week:
- Week 1: Covid and resilience
- Week 2: Hope for the future
- Week 3: Capitalising on strengths
- Week 4: Acknowledging weakness
Participants in the diary writing group will be requested to maintain personal diaries in their private personal computers. Like the blogging group, they will be asked to write and save articles 200–500 words long, once a week, and devote to writing at least 20 minutes each time. Their diary will remain private and confidential.
Using Qualtrics, participants in both groups will respond to the Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale; Existential Gratitude Scale; and Dispositional Hope Scale, as a pre- and post-assessment questionnaire.
- The Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale is a test comprising 25 items. It measures resilience or how well one is equipped to bounce back after stressful events, tragedy, or trauma. The Connor Davidson Resilience Scale measures several components of resilience: the ability to adapt to change; the ability to deal with what comes along; the ability to cope with stress; the ability to stay focused and think clearly; the ability to not get discouraged in the face of failure; and the ability to handle unpleasant feelings such as anger, pain, or sadness.
- The Existential Gratitude Scale is developed to assess the level of existential gratitude. Participants will read 13 statements and indicate to what extent each item characterises their own life. You may respond by circling (if paper-based) / clicking (if online-based) the appropriate number according to the statements.
- The Dispositional Hope Scale assesses a global trait-based hope score for individuals above 15 years old. The scale is in 4-point Likert-type scale ranging from ‘definitely false’ to ‘definitely true’. There are 12 items in the scale distributed as follows: pathways subscale (4 items), agentic thinking subscale (4 items) and four negative statements as fillers that are not related to hope.
Once the participants in the blogging group finish the Qualtrics survey, they will be assigned a unique participant number. They would need to email this number to the researcher to set up a login for them on the PReP website. Their username is the Qualtrics unique participant number; they will be given a temporary password and will be advised to change it to something more memorable. If they forgot their password, they would have to email the researcher and a temporary password will be provided.
Your blogposts will be used for further analysis at a later phase of the study. All information will be anonymised during the analysis.
This study will include taking part in either blogging or diary writing. Using standardised questionnaires, the study will measure your resilience, gratitude, and hope levels. By taking part in this study, you will be helping Dennis Relojo-Howell and the University to better understand the factors that can contribute to developing an effective blog-based resilience intervention for young adults.
Participation involves writing about personal experience and will therefore hold the potential of emotional discomfort or upset. If answering these types of questions would cause your discomfort or stress, we advise that you do not continue with the study. To mitigate this risk, local and online accessible helplines and resources will be provided through a debriefing form, which will be provided upon completion of the writing activities (i.e., both blogging and diary writing) with resources for coping with any potential distress.
If at all you feel that you no longer wish to be part of the study, you are free to opt out anytime without providing any explanations. Your information and blogpost entries will then not be used in the study.
Agreeing to participate in this project does not oblige you to remain in the study nor have any further obligation to this study. If, at any stage, you no longer want to be part of the study, please inform the lead researcher, Dennis Relojo-Howell (email@example.com). You should note that your data may be used in the production of formal research outputs (e.g., journal articles, conference papers, theses, and reports) prior to your withdrawal, and so you are advised to contact the research team at the earliest opportunity should you wish to withdraw from the study. On specific request, we will destroy all your identifiable answers and blogposts, but we will need to use the data collected prior to your withdrawal, and to maintain our records of your consenting participation.
Your participation in this study is voluntary. All information given in the study will be completely confidential and individuals will remain anonymous. You have the right to withdraw from the study at any time without explanation, and request that the information provided be removed from the study up until the time that the data has been analysed which will be on 01 August 2027. You have the right to omit or refuse to answer any question in the study and to discontinue the blogging at any time without providing any explanation. You have the right to have your questions about the procedures answered (unless answering these questions would interfere with the study’s outcome). If you have any questions as a result of reading this information sheet, you should ask the researcher before the study begins and have them rectified.
Your data will be processed in accordance with the Data Protection Law. All information collected about you will be kept strictly confidential. Unless they are anonymised in our records, your data will be referred to by a unique participant number rather than by name. If you consent to taking part in the blogging activity, you will choose your own username and password. Only the researcher will have admin access to the PReP website. All electronic data will be stored on a password-protected computer file and all paper records will be stored in a locked filing cabinet. Your consent information will be kept separately from your responses in order to minimise risk.
Confidentiality prevents the disclosure of the personal information during this research. Confidentiality gives the research participant the assurance they can share whatever they want with the researcher. Nonetheless, there are several critical limits of confidentiality. In some cases, due to forces outside the researcher’s and the participant’s control, it cannot be expected for the researcher to keep their disclosures private. In other cases, the researcher is obligated to breach confidentiality in the name of public safety or the participant’s health and well-being. Should this happen, as part of the safeguarding procedure, the university counsellor will be informed.
If you wish to have your blogposts and your responses to questionnaires to be deleted, please inform the researcher (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your unique participant number stating you wish for your data to be removed. Your blogposts and responses to the questionnaires can be removed up until the point of the data analysis. In accordance with your request, we will delete your data and it will not be included in the study.
The results of this study may be summarised in published articles, reports, and presentations. Quotes or key findings will always be made anonymous in any formal outputs unless we have your prior and explicit written permission to attribute them to you by name. Information may also be kept for future research. The research project will have three phases whereby this study is just the second phase, so results from this will be used in the final phase of the research project.
No personal information will appear in any reports that arise from the project and all anonymised data will be stored securely in line with the University of Edinburgh’s guidelines. Participants’ data will be stored for five years, after which it will be permanently deleted. No data or any of your personal information will be disclosed to any other/third-party organisations.
If you would like any further information about this study or if you are unhappy about anything in this study, please contact the lead researcher, Dennis Relojo-Howell (email@example.com).
Please email the project supervisors for advice about this project: Dr Mark Hoelterhoff (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Dr Laura Cariola (email@example.com) from the University of Edinburgh. We would be more than willing to answer any of your questions or concerns that you may have.
If you would like to contact an independent person, who knows about this project but is not involved with it, please contact Dr Helen Sharpe (firstname.lastname@example.org).
If you have complaints or serious concerns regarding the study, please contact the Head of School of Health of Social Science, Professor Matthias Schwannauer (email@example.com). He is external to the project, and so will be able to address any concerns and questions in an objective manner.
In your communication, please provide the study title and detail the nature of your complaint.
You can get this document on tape, in Braille, large print, and various computer formats if you ask us. Please contact the lead researcher (firstname.lastname@example.org) and quote your reference number.
For general information about how we use your data go to: https://www.ed.ac.uk/records-management/privacy-notice-research
Thank you for taking the time to read more about our study. We hope you will get involved