Full Project Title: Body Image in Real and Virtual Environments
Principal Researcher: Dr. Alexander Mussap
Student Researcher: Mr Jon-Paul Cacioli
You are invited to take part in this research project. This Plain Language Statement contains detailed information about the research project. Its purpose is to explain to you as openly and clearly as possible all the procedures involved in this project so that you can make a fully informed decision whether you are going to participate.
Please read this Plain Language Statement carefully. Feel free to ask questions about any information in the document by emailing Jon-Paul Cacioli at email@example.com. You may also wish to discuss the project with a relative or friend or your local health worker. Feel free to do this.
Once you understand what the project is about and if you agree to take part in it, by completing the questionnaire you have consented to be part of the study. Please do not initiate the questionnaire unless you understand the information provided regarding the study and that you give your consent to participate in the research project.
A PDF file of this form is available for download to keep for your records.
In order to take part in this study you must:
- Be over 18 years of age
- Be Male
- Be a regular user of the Internet
- Be able to read English fluently
Purpose and Background
This is a student research project which is a requirement of the Doctorate of Clinical Psychology at Deakin University. The results of the study will be collated into an academic research thesis and will be possibly published in a peer reviewed psychology journal.
A total of 300 people, all males over 18 years of age, will participate in this project.
Previous research has shown that the way people feel and interact with each other can be influenced by the individual’s perception of themselves. A discrepancy between how an individual perceives their own physical appearance compared to how they wish to look can lead to depression, higher levels of stress and anxiety and a poorer overall quality of life. The Internet has recently reached a level of sophistication whereby an individual can create a digital representation of themselves, such as an avatar, controlling each physical dimension. The purpose of this project is to investigate the differences between individuals and their avatars and examine their experience of how appearance affects them in real life and on the Internet, such as in programs as Second Life and World of Warcraft.
You are invited to participate in this research project because understanding the psychological effects regarding appearance over the Internet is an area which has not been explored.
The results of this research may be used to help researcher Jon-Paul Cacioli to obtain a Doctorate of Clinical Psychology.
This research is totally funded by Deakin University.
in this project will involve completing a questionnaire on a secure
web based server. The questionnaire will take approximately 20
to 30 minutes to complete, depending on your reading speed.
The questionnaire is in English and will require you to select
answers based on a provided scale. Please answer each question.
The questionnaire will measure aspects of your psychological and
physical dimensions, such as:
image and the body dimension of your internet avatar
- Body satisfaction
views on body image
- Some questions
regarding the importance of your avatar
The insights gained from this project will not be of direct benefit to you as a participant, however, it will further the understanding of the psychological effects of body image on the Internet.
Some of the questions asked may cause you some discomfort, particularly if you have concerns with your appearance or have high levels of depression and anxiety. Examples of the questions and statements used include:
- Have you
ever felt ashamed of your body size or shape?
- I feel
extremel guilty about overeating.
If you find that the questions cause you discomfort please do not continue with this study. If you experience an adverse reaction from participating in this project we encourage you to see your local General Practitioner or a qualified counsellor for support. If you are a Deakin University student, we encourage you to seek assistance from a qualified university counsellor on campus available free of charge. Lifeline (13 11 14) is available Australia wide for 24 hour confidential counselling and referrals for the cost of a local call. Alternatively, if you are currently receiving psychological treatment we strongly recommend that you seek assistance from your regular clinic or agency.
There may be additional unforseen or unknown risks.
Privacy, Confidentiality and Disclosure of Information
obtained in connection with this project and that can identify you will remain
confidential. The questionnaire you complete will remain entirely anonymous -
you will not be asked for any possibly identifying information. Upon completion
of the questionnaire a separate page will ask for your email address so that
you can go into a random draw for a $100 AUD Amazon.com gift voucher. Your email
address will be kept separate from your answers to ensure anonymity. Your collected
information will only be disclosed with your permission, subject to legal requirements.
If you give us your permission by completing the questionnaire, we plan to collate
and discussthe results within a doctoral thesis and to publish the data in an
international peer reviewed psychology journal. In any publication participants will not be identifiable as only aggregated data will be reported.
The information obtained from this study will be kept in secure storage in digital hardcopy for 6 years after the final publication, after which it will be destroyed.
Results of Project
The project will be completed and results written up by Serptember
2011. It is not possible to contact you regarding your individual
results or regarding publications due to the anonymity of the study.
If you would like further information please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Participation is Voluntary
Participation in any research project is voluntary. If you do not wish to take part you are not obliged to. If you decide to take part and later change your mind, you are free to withdraw from the project at any stage and the data will not be used and will be destroyed. Please note that due to the anonymity of the project it will be impossible to remove your data once the questionnaire is submitted.
Your decision whether to take part or not to take part, or to take part and then withdraw, will not affect yourrelationship with Deakin University.
Before you make your decision, a member of the research team will be available to answer any questions you have about the research project via email email@example.com. You can ask for any information you want. Only initiate the questionnaire, signifying your consent, after you have received satisfactory answers to your questions.
There are no foreseeable risks to you in regards to withdrawing.
This project will be carried out according to the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (2007) produced by the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia. This statement has been developed to protect the interests of people who agree to participate in human research studies.
The ethics aspects of this research project have been approved by the Human Research Ethics Committee of Deakin University.
If you have any complaints about any aspect of the project, the way it is being conducted or any questions about your rights as a research participant, then you may contact:
Should you have any concern about the conduct of this research project, please contact: The Secretary HEAG-H, Dean's Office, Faculty of Health, Medicine, Nursing and Behavioural Sciences, 221 Burwood Hwy, Burwood, VIC, 3125. Telephone: (03) 9251 7174, Email: hmnbs-research [at] deakin.edu.au
Please quote project number
Reimbursement for your costs
As reimbursement for your time, you will be placed in a random draw for an Amazon.com voucher valued at $100 AUD. The draw will take place after data collection has been completed, To be entered into the draw your email address will be collected after the questionnaire, however this will be stored separate to your answers to ensure that your anonymity is maintained.
Further Information, Queries or Any Problems
If you require further information, wish to withdraw your participation or if you have any problems concerning this project (for example, any side effects), you can contact the researcher via email at jcaci [at] deakin.edu.au.
The researchers responsible for this project are:
Mr Jon-Paul Cacioli
Dr Alexander Mussap (principle researcher)
School of Psychology,
221 Burwood Highway.
ph: 03-9251 7777 (BH), 03-9251 7777 (AH)