The relationship between belief systems and approaches to life stress

INVITATION TO TAKE PART: My name is Gislene Rodriguez, a Masters’ student from the Psychology Department at the University of Abertay Dundee. As part of a project to investigate the effects of holding beliefs, I am carrying out the above study that you are being invited to participate in.

PURPOSE OF THE STUDY: We are interested to know whether having a strong level of engagement with a belief system changes your outlook on life stressors. We would like you to take part whether you consider yourself to have a belief system or not (this can be a belief system founded on religious or spiritual teaching or other ideology) and welcome responses from all denominations and levels of engagement in practices linked to your belief system, as well as from people who do not consider themselves as having any type of faith or other beliefs.

WHAT WILL I BE ASKED TO DO? We will present you with a series of questions that you can answer on-line simply by checking the box that most reflects you. We ask that you answer all questions as honestly as possible; there is no right or wrong answer. There will be demographic questions (e.g. age, gender), and questions about how you feel in stressful situations. Part of the questionnaire asks about your level of engagement with your belief system (if you have one). It may be that you do not follow any particular faith and therefore find that most of these questions are not applicable to you. There is an option for each of these questions to select ‘does not apply to me at all’ if you feel you do not hold any relevant beliefs. We ask you to please complete this section even if your answer to all questions is ‘not applicable’ as we will use this to categorise your data on the later sections of the questionnaire. It is only a short section of 14 items. If you are uncomfortable answering any of the questions, please feel free to withdraw from the study.

Please be aware that you can choose not to take part in the study, omit certain questions or stop your participation at any time up to the data being submitted as complete. At this point, the data will not be recognisable as yours to protect anonymity of responses and so we cannot retrieve it after submission of the questionnaire. If you do not want to answer any of the questions, but still want to continue your participation, please choose the option “prefer not to say” available in each question, in order to omit a particular question. By clicking on the keyboard “esc” you, will be able to exit the questionnaire, ending your participation and no data will be stored. Please be aware that your answers will only be registered if you complete the full questionnaire and click on the option “finish and submit” available at the end. Otherwise, by exiting the questionnaire before giving this confirmation, any responses given will not be recorded.

TIME COMMITMENT: You will be required to answer the questionnaire only once. The length of time it will take to complete is approximately 20-30 minutes.

MUS I TAKE PART? No, participation is voluntary. You may decide to stop being a part of the research study at any time without explanation up until the data is submitted as complete.

ARE THERE ANY RISKS? There are no known risks for you in this study, however, if you feel uncomfortable in answering any of the questions or in taking part in the study at all, please feel free to withdraw at any time without explanation or to leave the question (s) which you do not feel comfortable answering blank.

CONFIDENTIALITY/ANONYMITY: The data we collect do not contain any personal information about you that would allow identification. The questionnaires will be analysed using a computer program and you as a participant will be recognised only by a number. Results from this study may be published in a scientific journal but it will not be possible to recognise you or your data. The study is fully confidential and anonymous with only myself and the lead researcher having access to the data. Online responses will be transferred to a secured network and once transposed by the researcher will be deleted from the online survey tool.

FURTHER INFO ABOUT THIS PROJECT: If you require further information about this study you can either contact the researcher Gislene Rodriguez by email 0803341@live.abertay.ac.uk or Dr. Clare Cunningham by email (c.cunningham@abertay.ac.uk) or by phone (+44 1382 308283).

THE SCHOOL OF SOCIAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES RESEARCH ETHICS COMMITTEE HAS REVIEWED AND APPROVED THIS RESEARCH STUDY.

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