Thank you for your interest in this research study. Before deciding whether to participate, please take the time to read the following information so that you understand what your participation would involve. The project is being conducted by a team of researchers from Nottingham Trent University: Drs Preethi Premkumar, Eva Zysk, Nadja Heym and Alex Sumich of the Psychology Department, and Professor David Brown of the School of Science and Technology. Please do not hesitate to contact us if anything is unclear or you wish to discuss your participation in this project.
Social anxiety is an exaggerated fear in people that others will negatively evaluate them. People with social anxiety may fear being criticised, scrutinised, or embarrassed. The overall aims of this 2-part research are to (i) to measure people’s level of social anxiety; and (ii) assess whether gradually increasing self-guided exposure to a virtual audience whilst giving a speech is helpful in reducing social anxiety.
What would my participation involve?
This research is split into 2 parts:
Part 1 (the screening survey): People aged 18+ who experience social anxiety and who have normal or corrected vision with contact lenses are eligible for this study. Part 1 involves completing an online survey about your fears of social situations, e.g. fear of talking to strangers, and fear of parties and social events. The survey will take approximately 5 minutes. Participants will be entered into a prize draw for a £10 gift voucher. Participants will be asked to leave their contact details so they could be contacted if they met the criteria for the next stage of the study. Should you be eligible for Part 2 of the study, we will contact you with further information and an invitation to partake in the experimental part of this study.
Part 2: Eligible participants will be invited to a virtual reality (VR) experiment, which will be held at Nottingham Trent University, City Campus on three separate days within two consecutive weeks. In each of the three 1-hour sessions, you will be asked to give a 20-minute talk in front of a virtual audience on your thoughts and experience of being on holiday. You will be given slides in the virtual lecture room to prompt you to talk on the topic. Throughout the speech, you will be able to alter your environment such as changing the size and reaction of the virtual audience. Approximately 4 weeks after your participation in the virtual reality experiment, you will be asked to complete a brief online survey.
You will receive a £15 Amazon voucher for each of the three lab visits. Thus, the total you will receive for taking part in Part 2 of the research is £45. Further, you will be entered into a prize draw for a £10 gift voucher if you complete the online survey at the 4-week follow-up after completing the 3 virtual reality sessions.
We are seeking adults with social anxiety aged 18 and over to take part in this research. Thus, if you have social anxiety, such as fearing speaking in front of others or you fear that people will judge you, we would like you to take part in our screening study to see if you may be eligible for our intervention study (Part 2).
Do I have to take part?
No, your participation in any parts of this research is entirely voluntary at any stage of the study. You can also withdraw from the study at any time, either during or after any part of the study. You will not be asked to give a reason for withdrawing and there are no consequences if you do decide to withdraw. You can withdraw your participation in the online survey (Part 1) study until 31st October 2019. If you decide to withdraw before this date, your raw data will be destroyed and we will not use any of your data in subsequent presentations or papers. You can still withdraw your data after 31st October 2019. If you do so after this deadline, while your data will be removed at this point it is likely that it will be used in initial reports, but not in subsequent outcomes. If you wish to withdraw your data at any stage, please contact the research team leader (Dr Preethi Premkumar) using the contact details at the end of this sheet, quoting your unique identifier that you provided at the start of the study.
How will the research team ensure the security and confidentiality of the data I provide?
All data files will be kept on a secure, password protected computer. Any paper-based data, such as your consent form, will be kept in locked drawers. Only the research team will have access to your data. All data will be destroyed securely after five years, in keeping with British Psychological Society standards. In line with the BPS e-study ethical procedures, we have to make you aware of a potential risk of intrusion (e.g. via hackers) of data in online surveys. In the very unlikely event that this would happen, we will inform you immediately.
What are the possible risks/disadvantages of participating?
There are no identified risks for Part 1; however, should you feel distressed by answering the questions which relate to your anxiety, we will provide you with contact information of helpful organisations at the end of the survey.
What will happen to the information I provide and the results of the research?
We will use your response to the survey to decide whether you are eligible for the virtual reality experiment. If you are eligible, we will contact you to find a suitable time for you to take part in Part 2 of the study. If you are not eligible, we are thankful for your time and interest in the project thus far.
Who has reviewed the study?
The project was initially reviewed by a funding committee who judged the project worthy of funding on the basis of its scientific merit. The project has since received favourable ethical approval from the NTU College of Business, Law and Social Sciences Research Ethics Committee.
Please feel free to contact the interviewer or research team leader using the following contact details: