Information for Parents

This information sheet provides an overview of the study and our obligations regarding data protection, so that teenagers and their parent/guardian can discuss the study together and decide whether or not to take part.

Part 1 – The Study

Who are we?

Dr. Caroline Heary works in the School of Psychology, at the National University of Ireland, Galway and Dr. Elizabeth Nixon & Dr. Lorraine Swords are at the School of Psychology, Trinity College Dublin.

What is this study about?

We would like to understand how teenagers are experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic. We are interested in finding out how teenagers are coping with the ongoing restrictions and changes in their lives, what aspects they find most difficult and how are they feeling at the present time?

Why have I been asked to take part?

We are inviting teenagers (12-18 years) to take part in this study. In order to take part, the young person needs the permission of a parent, they need to be aged between 12-18 years, and they need to agree to answer our questions online.

Do I have to take part? No, it is entirely up to you and your teenager whether or not you take part. It is your choice.

What does taking part involve?

1. The online survey is for teenagers only:

a. We would like teenagers to take part in 3 online surveys over the next 12 months (one now, one in 6 months and a final one in 12 months). Each questionnaire takes approximately 15 mins. In the survey, the young person will be asked a series of questions about how they have coped during the COVID-19 pandemic, how they have adapted to the various changes, their outlook and levels of optimism and recent feelings and behaviours. Your teenager will not be asked to put their name on the survey, so all of the information will be anonymous (nobody will know how they responded). However, we will need their email address to contact them on each occasion. This will be stored separately from the survey answers and will not be linked to their survey data.

b. Parents’ permission is required in order for the young person to take part. Once parents provide consent and an email address for their child, the survey is sent to the young person.

Can my child change my mind?

Your child does not have to complete our survey unless they want to. Even if they start, they can stop completing the survey up until they hand it in. After that, we won’t be able to remove their information from the study, because we won’t know what survey is theirs, as no names are included on the survey.

What will happen to the information?

The information provided by your child will be used for reports and publications. All information will be stored on a password-protected secure server in the National University of Ireland, Galway and Trinity College Dublin. The survey information (which we call ‘data’) will be analysed by the members of our team. We might share the information with other researchers across the world, so that we can compare students in Ireland with students from other parts of the world, but again no names are ever included.

What are the risks associated with participating?

Some young people may find filling in the survey boring, or it might make them think about things that they don’t want to think about. They will be reminded that they do not have to answer any questions or provide any information they are not comfortable with, and that they can quit the study up until the time they hand in the survey.

Will I get feedback about the study?

If you would like a summary of the research, we will post details on our study website and you can provide your contact details at the time of consent.

How will this research benefit me?

You or your child will not benefit directly from taking part in this research project.

Our world has changed a lot in recent times and we are facing many new challenges. While there has been much discussion about how this pandemic is affecting young people, we are keen to engage with teenagers and involve them directly in research to understand what has helped young people cope; what aspects have they found most difficult; and how it has affected them (feelings and behaviours).

Part 2 – Data Protection

What information about me (personal data) will be used as part of this study?

For this study, the only personal data that we gather is your name and your child’s name on the consent form and your child’s email address to help us contact your teenage child for each survey. We will retain all records for seven years in the National University of Ireland, Galway in compliance with our legal obligations. We will never be able to link your survey with your consent forms. So all of your information provided in the survey will be anonymous.

Has this study been approved by a research ethics committee?

This study has been approved by National University of Ireland, Galway, Research Ethics Committee. Approval was granted on June 18th, 2020.

Part 3 - Further Information

Who should I contact for information or complaints?

If you have any concerns or require any further information, please get in touch with Dr. Caroline Heary (, School of Psychology, National University of Ireland, Galway.

If you have any concerns about this study and wish to contact someone independent and in confidence, you may contact ‘the Chairperson of the NUI Galway Research Ethics Committee, c/o Office of the Vice President for Research, NUI Galway,

What should I do now?

If you (parents/guardian) are happy for your child to take part in the study:

· We require parental consent and an email address for your teenagers (who is aged 12-18 years).

· Once a parent provides consent, an assent form (permission form) and a copy of the survey is sent to the email of the young person and the young person is asked if they agree (or not) to take part in the survey.

Thank you for taking the time to read about our study.

If you would like to proceed, the next step is for parents to complete a consent form, which can be accessed via this link: ADAPT RESEARCH STUDY PARENT CONSENT FORM