Please carefully read the following information about the purpose of this study.

You are invited to take part in a research study about the relationship between pet ownership and quality of life for women with Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS). My study is for women who are at least 18 years old, can read in English, and have been diagnosed with FMS for at least two years.

If you own one or several cats, dogs, or both, and you have owned at least one pet for at least one year, you would be a "pet owner" in my study. It is okay if you also own other pets. If you do not own a cat or dog, then you would be a "non-pet owner" in my study as long as you own no animal companions except for fish.

This form is part of a process called “informed consent” that allows you to understand this study before deciding whether or not you wish to take part in it.

This study is being conducted by a researcher named Karen Fekete. I am a doctoral student at Walden University, and I hope to better understand the roles of pets in well-being among women with FMS through this study.

If you agree to participate in this study, you will be asked to complete and submit a questionnaire that includes demographic information, information about your pet ownership status, and questions assessing your quality of life, your attitudes towards pet ownership, and your relationship with your pet(s), if applicable, on SurveyMonkey.com.

Here are some sample questions:

·         Please rate your level of stiffness
             o      No Stiffness ………Severe Stiffness

·         My pet and I have a very close relationship
             o     Strongly Agree, Agree Somewhat, Disagree Somewhat, Disagree Strongly, Don’t Know or Refuse

·         Please rate your overall quality of life
             o     Poor, Below Average, Average, Above Average, Excellent

The entire survey should take no more than 20 minutes to complete.

This study is completely voluntary and you are free to accept or turn down the invitation to participate. No one will treat you any differently if you decide not to be in this study. If you decide to be in the study now, you can still change your mind later. You do not need to answer any questions that make you uncomfortable and you may exit the survey at any time.
Your participation in this study could cause you minor discomfort from thinking about your FMS symptoms, your overall well-being, and your relationship with your pet(s) if you have any. Being in this study should not create any risks to your safety or well-being. The following include several helplines and websites that may help you deal with stress or discomfort if you ever need some extra support:

·         U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Mental Health Hotlines - https://www.mentalhealth.gov/get-help/immediate-help/index.html
·         Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline - 1-800-662-HELP (4357) /
          1-800-487-4889 (TDD)
·         National Fibromyalgia Association (NFA) - http://www.fmaware.org/
·         National Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain Association (NFCPA) - http://www.fmcpaware.org/
·         Find support groups near you at http://www.fmcpaware.org/community/nfmcpa-education-and-support-groups.html
·         National Suicide Prevention Hotline - 1-800-273-8255
·         Lifeline Crisis Chat Line - http://chat.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/GetHelp/LifelineChat.aspx

This study may help others by giving professionals a deeper understanding of the relationship between pet ownership and quality of life in women with FMS. No compensation is provided for this study.

Your survey responses will be collected and stored anonymously, and any information collected for the study that might be used to identify you will not be shared with anyone. Even I will have no way of knowing who you are. I will not use your personal information or other responses for any purpose outside of this research project. Your responses will be kept securely in password-protected files for seven years and then will be destroyed, so there will not be any unauthorized access to them.

If you have any questions, you may contact me via email at karen.fekete@waldenu.edu or phone at 816-506-9507. If you want to talk privately about your rights as a participant, you can call the Research Participant Advocate at my university at 612-312-1210. Walden University’s approval number for this study is 01-24-18-0389060 and it expires on January 23, 2019.

You may want to print or save this consent form for your records.

If you feel you understand the study well enough to make a decision about it and wish to participate, please indicate your consent by selecting "yes" in the question below.

Question Title

* 1. Do you feel that you understand this study well enough to make a decision about it, and wish to participate in the study?

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