An intervention for people whose self-esteem has been affected by prejudice, discrimination or stigma: A pilot study
We would like to invite you to participate in this research project which forms part of the doctoral research of Katie Langford and Katrina McMullen, Trainee Clinical Psychologists. Please take time to read the following information and discuss it with others if you wish.

What is the purpose of the study?

The purpose of this study is to evaluate a new psychological intervention, which aims to improve self-esteem and wellbeing in young people who identify that having a characteristic or experience associated with prejudice, discrimination or stigma has affected their self-esteem. One of our aims is to evaluate whether young people are interested in receiving such an intervention and their experience of receiving it. We are also interested in finding out whether people who have the intervention show higher levels of self-esteem afterwards. Further, we hope that by asking young people about their experiences of stigma, prejudice and discrimination we can understand more about how this affects self-esteem.

Why have I been invited to take part?

You may be suitable to participate in this study if you have a characteristic or experience that is associated with prejudice, discrimination or stigma, and you consider this to have contributed to you having low self-esteem. We are looking for people who want help to improve their self-esteem, because it affects an important area of their life such as relationships, daily activities, studying or work.

Participants must be aged 16-24 because we are targeting young people. To take part, you must be able to attend weekly sessions at times that the therapists are available. You must be registered with a GP in the UK. You must also be sufficiently fluent in English to be able to read the study materials and undertake a talking therapy.

There are certain reasons why people may not be suitable to take part. This includes having current problems that would interfere with the ability to benefit from the intervention, such as serious mental illness (e.g. psychosis, bipolar disorder, severe depression, anorexia nervosa or substance misuse), recent self-harm or current suicidal ideation with intent to act on suicidal thoughts, or if you are currently experiencing significant life stress (e.g. recent bereavement). You will not be eligible to take part if you have started or changed the dose of a medication that you take for psychological difficulties (for example depression or anxiety) in the past 3 months, or if you are currently receiving another psychological therapy.

What will happen if I take part?

We will arrange a brief telephone interview and send you a link to two short questionnaires. If you are eligible for the study and choose to take part, you will be invited to a 6-session psychological intervention. The sessions will involve meeting one-to-one with a Trainee Clinical Psychologist, who works under the supervision of a Clinical Psychologist. Sessions will involve discussing topics relevant to improving your self-esteem and developing and practicing new coping strategies.

We will ask you to complete some questionnaires, via an online link, that assess low self-esteem and its impact on your life, anxiety, depression, self-criticism, self-compassion and how you cope with experiences relating to stigma, prejudice and discrimination. Two weeks after completing these questionnaires you will be invited to start the intervention. You will be asked to complete the same questionnaires before sessions 1 and 4, after session 6 and 2 months later. After the final session, you will be asked to complete a questionnaire collecting your views about how you found the intervention.

The first session will take approximately 60-90 minutes and will involve an in-depth interview about your experiences of prejudice, discrimination and stigma and how this has affected your self-esteem. This information will be used to guide the following sessions so that the intervention is relevant for your experiences. It will also be combined in anonymised format with that from other participants and analysed to investigate the important themes within people’s experiences of stigma and how this affects low self-esteem. Sessions 2-6 will take approximately 60 minutes each at weekly intervals. The sessions will take place at King’s College London, probably at the Denmark Hill campus.

Sessions will be audio-recorded. The recordings will be listened to for supervision purposes, to check the therapists are providing the therapy appropriately and for the in-depth interview in the first session to be transcribed and analysed. Your name will not be stored with the session recording.

Do I have to take part?

Participation is completely voluntary. Once you have read the information sheet, please contact us if you have any questions that will help you make a decision.

Travel expenses

We will reimburse your travel expenses for attending sessions, up to a maximum of £10 per session.

What are the possible risks of taking part?

This study will involve discussing psychological issues, and this can cause people to feel some degree of emotional distress. The sessions may involve discussing sensitive issues, such as your experience of prejudice, discrimination and stigma. However, the purpose of the intervention is to help you manage distress and build up coping strategies. The therapists have experience in delivering psychological treatment and supporting people with similar issues. If you require further support outside of these sessions, we will make recommendations for sources of support.

A potential disadvantage of taking part is the inconvenience associated with completing the online questionnaires. In the unlikely event that completing questionnaires causes emotional distress, support will be provided.

What are the possible benefits of taking part?

Taking part means that you will be offered help for low self-esteem. We hope that this will be beneficial, but we cannot guarantee that it will be helpful for you. We can send you a copy of the final report when it is completed, and can give you feedback on any changes in your questionnaire scores.

Data handling and confidentiality

Your data will be processed in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation 2016 (GDPR).

All information relating to your participation in the study will be securely stored, either on a password-protected computer or server at Kings College London, or in a locked filing cabinet. Your questionnaire responses will be anonymised by labelling them with a number. We will not use or store any identifiable information except to arrange sessions. The data from questionnaire responses and the interview will only be shared with other members of the research team, with your consent.

Audio-recordings will be transferred immediately from the portable recording device onto a KCL computer and then deleted from the device. Files will be saved according to the participant number rather than a name. The audio-recording of the in-depth interview will be transcribed and stored electronically on a password-protected KCL computer. All audio recordings will be deleted once they have been transcribed or used for supervision purposes. In the final report, quotes from the interviews may be used, however these will not contain any identifiable information about participants.

The data will be retained for 4 years after the completion of the study, in line with Kings College London’s Records and Data Retention Schedule.

Data Protection Statement

The data controller for this project will be King’s College London (KCL). The University will process your personal data for the purpose of the research outlined above. The legal basis for processing your personal data for research purposes under GDPR is a ‘task in the public interest’ You can provide your consent for the use of your personal data in this study by completing the consent form that has been provided to you.

You have the right to access information held about you. Your right of access can be exercised in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation. You also have other rights including rights of correction, erasure, objection, and data portability. Questions, comments and requests about your personal data can also be sent to the King’s College London Data Protection Officer Mr Albert Chan If you wish to lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioner’s Office, please visit

What if I change my mind about taking part?

You are free withdraw at any point of the study, without giving a reason. Withdrawing from the study will not affect you in any way. You can withdraw your questionnaire data from the study up until 13th December 2019, and your interview data up until 1 month after the interview, after which withdrawal of your data will no longer be possible due to data being anonymised and analysed for the final report. If you decide to withdraw from the intervention, we will ask you to complete the post-intervention questionnaires, however whether you complete them is entirely your choice.

How is the project being funded

This study is being funded by the Kings College London Doctorate in Clinical Psychology programme (

What will happen to the results of the study?

The results of the study will be summarised in two theses for the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology. The results will be written up for publication in peer-reviewed journals and may be presented at conferences. The anonymised data set will not be made publicly available. We will provide you with a copy of the final report if you request it.

Who should I contact for further information?

If you have any questions or require more information about this study, please contact us using the following contact details: Katie Langford ( or
Katrina McMullen (

What if I have further questions, or if something goes wrong?
If this study has harmed you in any way or if you wish to make a complaint about the conduct of the study you can contact King's College London using the details below for further advice and information:

Dr Katharine Rimes
Senior Lecturer & Honorary Consultant Clinical Psychologist
Dept of Psychology, Henry Wellcome Building
Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience
King’s College London,
De Crespigny Park
London SE5 8AF
Tel. +44 (0)207 848 0330

Departmental postal address: Dept of Psychology, Henry Wellcome Building, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London, De Crespigny Park, London SE5 8AF

Thank you for reading this information sheet and for considering taking part in this research.

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