TO: Participants       


Plain Language Statement

Date: 30/03/2015
Full Project Title: Evaluation of an Online, Mobile, ‘Deakin Ultra-Brief Intervention’ (DUBI) for Social Anxiety.
Principal Researcher: Associate Professor David Austin


Dear prospective participant,

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 regarding whether or not you wish to participate. Please read this Plain Language Statement carefully. By continuing to the questionnaire on the next page, you give your consent to participate in the research project. You can, however, withdraw your participation at any time if you wish.

  • Purpose;

Social anxiety is common in the general population, and although many individuals do not qualify for a clinical diagnosis of social anxiety, they may still experience anxiety in their daily lives.

The purpose of this study is to trial a free, innovative online intervention (a smartphone app) that aims to help you cope with anxiety provoking social situations. The intervention provides tips for managing anxiety in social situations via short (<3 minute) video presentations that you can access anywhere and anytime via your smartphone.
To be eligible to participate you need to be aged 18 years or over, own a smartphone capable of running apps, and be able to comprehend the English language.

  • Methods;

For this research you will be require to download an iPhone or Android application. There are several aspects to this research. First, participants complete a baseline questionnaire which asks about demographic information (e.g., your age, gender, marital status), anxiety symptoms, and psychological wellbeing. This baseline questionnaire will take about 20 minutes to complete. Then, for 6 weeks, participants have access to the smartphone app, and they are free to use this as often (or as little) as they wish.  You will be randomised to either receive the app straight away, or to a “waitlist” group that will receive access to the app after a 6 week waiting period. After 6 weeks, all participants will complete the online questionnaires again, then again 3 months later.  

  • Demands;

Overall, total participation time is approximately 1-3 hours (1 hour for control group participants and up to 3 hours for the intervention group) over the course of six weeks.

  • Risks and potential benefits to participants;

Access to, and use of, the web resources are expected to improve social anxiety symptoms for you. Moreover, these techniques may be useful in other aspects of your life also. Should the intervention prove effective, we will make this available to the general population for free. Should this occur, you will be able to access the resources beyond the duration of participation in the study.
There are no anticipated risks outside the normal day-to-day activities. However, given that the questionnaires will include questions regarding issues such as social anxiety, there is a slight possibility that you may experience some concern about your responses. If you do participate and find that you are uncomfortable or overly worried about your responses to any of the questionnaire items, or if you find participation in the project distressing, you should contact Associate Professor David Austin, the Principal Investigator. You may also like to contact a government or community organisation specialising in dealing with distress. You can also contact your GP or for telephone support, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

  • Benefits to the wider community;

Should the intervention prove effective, we will make this available to the general population for free, allowing affordable and evidence-based resources to be available to those who require it.

  • Privacy and confidentiality;  

To preserve your anonymity, we ask you NOT to place your name, or any identifying information anywhere on the survey. Your contact details have not been obtained, nor will they be, at any point.  Thus, none of the information you provide can in any way be linked back to you. Upon submission, your responses will be entered electronically into a secure server at Deakin University, from which only group data will be reported or published. This database is password protected and managed within the guidelines applicable to the secure storage of all electronic data within Deakin University. Only the principal researcher will have access to this grouped data.

  • Form of dissemination of the research results;

A summary of the findings will be available for any interested participants to read at the completion of the study. Findings may be published in peer-reviewed journals and may be used as part of conference presentations. Please contact david.austin@deakin.edu.au if you would like to receive a copy of this report or be forwarded details of where to find the publications.

  • How the research will be monitored;

The project will be monitored by Associate Professor David Austin, of the Deakin University School of Psychology, to ensure the research practices comply with Deakin University ethics guidelines.

  • Any payments to participants;

There is no payment for participation, however, participants who have completed all questionnaires may choose to enter into a draw to win one of two one hundred dollar shopping vouchers.

  • Funding for the research;

This project is being funded by the Deakin University School of Psychology.

  • Financial or other relevant declarations of interests of researchers, sponsors and institutions;

The research team have no declarations of interest to report.

  • 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. However, as the information is de-identified, we will not be able to retrieve and remove the data prior to analyses. Your decision whether to take part or not to take part, or to take part and then withdraw, will not affect your relationship with Deakin University in any way.
Before you make your decision, a member of the research team will be available to answer any questions you have about the research project. You can ask for any information you want. 

  • Further Information;

Should you have any concerns or questions about this research project, please contact the Principal Research, Associate Professor David Austin:
Associate Professor David Austin
Deakin University, School of Psychology
Phone: (03) 9251 7227
Email: david.austin@deakin.edu.au

  • Complaints;

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: 
The Manager, Research Integrity, Deakin University, 221 Burwood Highway, Burwood Victoria 3125, Telephone: 9251 7129, research-ethics@deakin.edu.au
Please quote project number [2015-076].