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The impact of relationship breakdown and separation on the mental well-being of people in Australia.

Purpose of the research

This is an invitation to participate in an anonymous survey being conducted by researchers from the School of Psychology at the University of Wollongong, as a part of the Bachelor of Psychology (Honours) theses. The aim of this study is to gain a better understanding of the impact that relationship breakdown and separation has on the mental well-being of Australian adults. This survey will collect demographic and mental health information with a number of questions focused on relationship status and separation outcomes. The implications and benefits of this research are that it will provide much needed Australian data to inform government and mental health professionals and become a key catalyst in the development of prevention and intervention programs.

Investigators

Associate Professor Adam Clarke, Faculty of Art, Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Wollongong, (02) 4221 5775, aclarke@uow.edu.au

 If you require further information regarding any aspects of this study, please contact the investigator listed above.

 Participants

We are seeking participants aged 25 or over, who are currently living in Australia who are willing to complete an anonymous online survey about their relationship and mental health status. We are unable to provide translation services, so only those who are proficient in English would be able to participate.

 Methods and demands on participants

We expect this survey will take approximately 20-30 minutes to complete, but some may complete it faster. You will be asked to provide some demographic information (e.g., age, sex and postcode) as well as information regarding your current relationship status. You will also be asked to complete a series of mental health screening questions related to stress, depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and trauma.  Your answers will remain confidential and anonymous. The information you disclose will not be used to identify you individually in any way.  All reporting of the information will use aggregated data such as group averages. 

 Withdrawal from the survey

Your participation in this survey is voluntary and you are free to leave the survey at any time by simply closing the browser window and no information will be collected from you. There is no penalty for withdrawing participation and you are not required to give a reason. Declining to participate in this survey will not affect your relationship with the University of Wollongong in any way. However, once the survey is submitted, the information is de-identified which means we will not be able to retrieve any individual’s information and remove it from the analysis.  

 Possible risks and discomforts

Apart from the time it will take you to complete the survey, we do not foresee any risks to you. However, the survey covers topics such as relationship breakdown and separation, mental health, suicide and quality of life, which may cause some emotional distress in some participants. For example, In the past month, how often have you had thoughts about suicide? If you experience any distress during or require support after participation in the survey, please contact one of the following free and confidential helplines.

Lifeline 13 11 14

Beyond Blue 1300 22 46 36

Mensline Australia 1300 78 99 78 

Domestic Violence Line 1800 65 64 63

Australian Brotherhood of Fathers 1800 32 84 37 

What will the data be used for and how will it be stored?

The data will be stored on a University of Wollongong server in a password protected file which can only be accessed by the investigators. Information will be stored for 5 years and then securely disposed of.  

The results of the survey will be used firstly by the honour student researchers for their thesis. Results may also be published in peer-reviewed journal articles or presented at conferences. All future use of the data will be reported in ways that ensures you will not be identifiable.

 Ethics and complaints

This study has been reviewed and approved by the Social Sciences Human Research Ethics Committee of the University of Wollongong (HREC approval number 2021/066). The research will be monitored by Associate Professor Adam Clarke. If you have any concerns or complaints about the way this research has been conducted, you can contact the University of Wollongong Ethics Officer on (02) 4221 3386 or at rso-ethics@uow.edu.au

Survey Link