Flourishing beyond borders: Character strengths, resilience and self-perceived well-being of the accompanying expatriate partner during international relocation.
Informed consent form for the accompanying expatriate partner living in Africa
Thank you for taking the time to consider participating in this research study that forms part of a PhD study in Psychology. Please read the information presented here, which will explain the details of this study and answer a number of questions you might have.

For practical purposes of the proposed study, “she” or “her” will be used as personal pronouns. The researcher’s intent is non-sexist.

The title of the study is: Flourishing beyond borders: Character strengths, resilience and self-perceived well-being of the accompanying expatriate partner during international relocation.

This study has been approved by the Health Research Ethics Committee of the Faculty of Health Sciences of the North-West University (NWU-00362-16-S1), South Africa, and will be conducted according to the ethical guidelines and principles of Ethics in Health Research: Principles, Processes and Structures (South African Department of Health, 2015). It might be necessary for the research ethics committee members or other relevant people to inspect the research records. Your participation will be entirely voluntary and you are free to decline participation. You are also free to withdraw from the study at any point, even if you do agree to take part now.

After you have read all the information, you can click on the “I agree” button, after which you will be directed to the questionnaires.

What is this research study about?
The main purpose of this study will be to explore the character strengths, resilience and well-being of the accompanying expatriate partner during international relocation. This study will involve the completion of three online questionnaires at a time that is convenient to you. Approximately 300 participants will be included in this study. We wish to explore the personal experiences of the accompanying expatriate partner and to eventually propose a peer-reviewed intervention framework to promote the well-being of the accompanying expatriate partner.
Why have I been invited to participate?
You have been invited to be part of this study because:
• You are a South African citizen who is currently accompanying your life partner on an expatriate assignment in an African country.
• You are living as an expatriate partner in an African country other than South Africa for a minimum period of six months.
• Your life partner is formally deployed on an expatriate assignment for a minimum period of two years.
• You are adequately skilled in English to complete the relevant questionnaires.
• You are not formally employed whilst on an expatriate assignment.

You will NOT be able to take part in this research study if:
• You have either already returned to South Africa or moved on to a new assignment in a country outside the African continent.
• You know or are familiar with the researcher.

What will be expected of me?
• During the first phase of the study you will be expected to complete three online questionnaires consisting of 111 questions in total. This will take you approximately 30-45 minutes to complete.
• During the second phase of the study (approximately six months after the first phase), the researcher will discuss and confirm the results of the questionnaires with a smaller sample group. This sample group will be randomly selected and should you be selected, you will be requested to answer a few semi-structured, open-ended questions. This questionnaire will not take longer than 30 minutes to complete.

It is important to note that the data collection process will take place completely anonymously. A unique participant code will be used to link your email address with the answers you provide. All biographical and other information that can potentially be used to connect you with your data will be removed before we analyse the data. Results of the study may be published, but there will be no disclosure of identities − your anonymity during publication will be ensured.

Will I gain anything from taking part in this study?
There will be no direct benefits should you choose to take part in this study. However, you will be equipping researchers, psychologists and counsellors who work with expatriates with greater insight in and a better understanding of the life and reality of the accompanying expatriate partner whilst living in Africa.

The researcher also aims to develop a model and intervention framework to empower future expatriate partners, which will be based on the results of this study.

Should I choose to take part in this study, are there any risks involved and what will be done to prevent possible risks?
Possible risks linked to participation and precautionary measures that will be put in place, are listed below.

Risk #1: Physical exhaustion and/or boredom due to the time spent completing the questionnaires.

Precaution: You will be given enough time to complete the questionnaires, and you will be able to complete them in the comfort of your own home.

Risk #2: Some emotions might surface during and/or after answering the questions.

Precaution: The questions in the questionnaires will emphasize your personal strengths and resilience. The aim of the study will be to ultimately gain insight into the well-being of the accompanying expatriate partner during international relocation in Africa.
Should you experience any upsetting emotions, the researcher will assist you by arranging a Skype consultation with a registered psychologist associated with the Institute for Psychology and Well-being (IPW) at the North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus, at a convenient time (contact details to follow).
Your Skype address will only be made available to the appointed psychologist.

Risk #3: You might fear that results will be discussed with your partner or the company that he/she is employed by.

Precaution: Data will be dealt with confidentially. Data will only be accessed by the researcher, her supervisors and the Statistical Consultation Service responsible for the data analysis. No personal information will be made public or discussed with employers or any other party and no identities will be made known.

How will my privacy be protected and who will see the results?
• Should you be willing to participate in phase 2, the researcher has to be able to contact you. You will, therefore, be asked to provide us with your email address. Participants will be assigned a unique code linking their email address with their answers. Only the researcher and her supervisors will have access to these unique codes. Your e-mail address will not be used / distributed for any other purpose than those mentioned above.

• Biographical and other information that can potentially be used to connect you with your data will be removed when the data analysis is done.

• The results of this study may be published, but there will be no disclosure of identities. Anonymity will be ensured during the publication of results.

• Data from the study will be stored on a password-protected online storage facility i.e. Dropbox to which only the research team and the collaborating statistician will have access. Hard copies of the data will be stored in a locked cabinet in the principal investigator's office.

What will happen with my data?
The data gathered will only be used for this particular study and will be destroyed after a period of five years. During this period the data will be securely kept at the North-West University.
Will I be informed about the results of this research?
No individual feedback will be provided. Once the thesis has been completed, a report containing the following will be sent by email to all of the participants:
• The overall results of our study.
• Supplementary reading in the field of positive psychology and expatriation.
• A link to the scientific publications emanating from this study.
Will I be paid to take part in this study and will I be responsible for any costs related to participation?
You will not be paid to take part in the study. Participation will not involve any costs on your part.
Who can I contact should I have any questions or concerns?
You are more than welcome to contact Truida Botha (flourishing.beyond.borders@gmail.com) or Johan Potgieter (johan.potgieter@nwu.ac.za) if you have any additional questions or concerns. A copy of the informed consent form will be available from any of the above email addresses should you require it. Please do not hesitate in contacting us.
You can also contact the Health Research Ethics Committee via Ms Carolien van Zyl at +27 18 299 1206 or carolien.vanzyl@nwu.ac.za should you have any concerns or complaints.
Declaration by participant
By clicking on the “I AGREE” button at the end of this document, your consent to the following is implied:

I declare that:
• I have read this information and understand the content of this document.
• I have been given the means and opportunity to ask additional questions, and all of my questions have been answered to my satisfaction.
• I understand that taking part in this study is voluntary and I have not been pressured into doing so.
• I may choose to leave the study at any time, and will not suffer any negative consequences if I decide to do so.

Do you agree? *
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