in this briefing we will tell you about the Yhdessä selviydytään study. The aim of this study is to offer help with children’s anxiety which has been caused by the coronavirus. Our website is aimed at parents/guardians. It contains information about anxiety, advice for going through difficult feelings with your child, and concrete methods for relieving the anxiety (e.g. breathing and visualisation exercises). The study is part of the Voimaperheet project, and it is based on a long experience of digital programmes which promote mental health. The programme is based on a method used in behavioural therapy, which has been found in previous studies to be the best way to relieve children’s anxiety and fears.
HOW WILL THE STUDY PROCEED?
We will ask you for your background information, your assessment of your and your child’s feelings about the epidemic, and how well you feel you can help your child with his/her difficult feelings.
After filling out the initial survey you will be able to go onto the website, where the material has been divided into seven themes. You can go over all themes in one go or work your way through them at your own pace. The website includes articles, videos, audio clips and cartoons. The website can also send you reminders. The programme will send out a reminder approximately two weeks after you have completed the programme.
As soon as you have completed the programme we will ask you about your satisfaction with the programme and your assessment of how well you feel that you can help your child with his/her difficult feelings. Two weeks after completing the programme we will also ask for your assessment of your and your child’s feelings relating to the epidemic. The study includes contact via email (a link to the online survey) six months after you have completed the programme so that we can gain information on what effect using the skills you have learned in the programme has in the long term. With both surveys you will also receive material relating to the skills you have learned previously in the programme. All surveys are filled out online on a secure website.
POTENTIAL ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF PARTICIPATING IN THE STUDY
It is possible that there will be no benefits of participating in the study. With the help of this study we will, however, aim to find out whether the website will teach adults methods that can help them confront and relieve their child’s anxiety. With the help of the study we can also gain useful information on how the epidemic and the restrictions are affecting the experiences of families. The data collected through the surveys will help us develop new programmes that can help children and families in the future. We are not expecting participation in the study to cause any disadvantages.
CONFIDENTIALITY AND DATA PROTECTION
All data collected in the study is confidential. The link between the website and the user’s computer is encrypted. The data will be stored electronically on a secure network drive at the University of Turku. Participants cannot be identified from the research findings. We will only save personal data that is relevant for the purposes of the study. We are processing personal data based on the university’s basic duties and their implementation as defined in section 2 of the Universities Act, and on section 4(3) in the Data Protection Act. We are processing special categories of personal data for scientific research in accordance with section 6(7) of the Data Protection Act.
Participation in the study is voluntary. Before you decide whether to participate you can take your time to decide and contact the study’s contact person. You can decline to take part in the study or withdraw your consent at any stage of the study without giving a reason. Participating in the study, interrupting your participation or declining to participate will not affect your ability to access other services/treatment in any way, so under these circumstances you can also get any other treatment or support that you require. If you interrupt your participation in the study, we will still be allowed to use the data that we have collected up to that point for research purposes.
MORE INFORMATION AND CONTACT DETAILS
You can contact the researchers at any stage of the study (firstname.lastname@example.org). This study briefing and the study’s privacy notice will be available on the study’s website www.yhdessaselviydytaan.fi until 31 July 2020.
The University of Turku acts as controller of the study’s data file and will ensure that the processing of personal data that takes place within the study is carried out according to the law. The study has gained permission from the Ethics Committee at the Hospital District of Southwest Finland. The study is funded by the Academy of Finland and is part of the INVEST flagship project (Inequalities, Interventions, and New Welfare State, decision number 320162). The study is led by Andre Sourander, Professor of Child Psychiatry.
By participating in this study, you can help us develop services that support families’ mental health and continue to create effective programmes for similar situations.