Mindfulness and Body Image

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INVITATION TO PARTICIPATE IN A RESEARCH PROJECT

PROJECT INFORMATION STATEMENT

Project Title: Mindfulness and Body Image: The role of focused attention and awareness in body image satisfaction

Dear Participant,

You are invited to participate in a research project being conducted by RMIT University. This information sheet describes the project in straightforward language, or ‘plain English’. Please read this sheet carefully and be confident that you understand its contents before deciding whether to participate. If you have any questions about the project, please ask one of the investigators.

Who is involved in this research project? Why is it being conducted?

The current research is being conducted by Amanda Cvetanovski as partial fulfilment of the Doctor of Clinical Psychology degree at RMIT University, under the supervision of Associate Professor David Smith and Ms Patricia Altieri. This research has been approved by the RMIT University Human Research Ethics Committee.

Why have you been approached?

We are interested in investigating body image in males and females between the age of 18 and 65 years and factors that contribute to the development and maintenance of body image dissatisfaction. Individuals who fit the above age range have been approached and invited to participate.

What is the project about? What are the questions being addressed?

The present study aims to examine factors (such as thoughts and feelings about body shape and weight, self-esteem, and overall well-being) that contribute to body image among men and women. In addition, the present study aims to examine focused attention and awareness or what we call “mindfulness” and its relationship with body image.

If I agree to participate, what will I be required to do?

As a participant in this study, you must first complete a consent form agreeing to participate in the study. You will then be asked to fill in a questionnaire package that will require approximately 45 minutes to complete. The questionnaire package contains several demographic questions regarding your age, gender, sexual orientation, weight and height, and ethnicity. The questions also address thoughts about shape and weight, behaviours related to body image, and mindfulness. You are encouraged to examine or browse through the questionnaire package as it may aid in your decision to participate in the study. If you agree to participate, you may complete the online questionnaire.

What are the risks associated with participation?

It is not thought that participation in this study will lead to any negative outcomes. However, the potential risk of becoming upset or distressed due to the nature of the questionnaires is present. In addition, some questions may be confronting and some distress may arise from reflecting on your own body image, traits, characteristics, and behaviours. If you are unduly concerned about your responses to any of the questionnaire items or if you find participation in the project distressing, please contact Associate Professor David Smith on (03) 9925 7523 or Ms Patricia Altieri on (03) 9925 7722 as soon as convenient. A/Prof Smith or Ms Altieri will discuss your concerns with you confidentially and suggest appropriate follow-up. Alternatively, you may contact your GP to discuss your concerns and obtain a referral to a psychologist if required. In addition, you may call one of the following services for further information, to discuss your concerns, or to obtain a referral for treatment if necessary:

  • Counselling Service at RMIT University if you are an RMIT university student, on (03) 9925 4365
  • The Australian Psychological Society on 1800 333 497
  • Lifeline on 13 11 14
  • Eating Disorder Foundation of Victoria Helpline 1300 550 236
  • SANE helpline 1800 18 SANE
  • Body Image Eating Disorders Treatment and Recovery Service (BETRS) (03) 9854-1700.

What are the benefits associated with participation?

Whilst there are no direct benefits for participating in this study, you will provide vital information regarding factors involved in body image. These findings will hopefully contribute to the knowledge base regarding adequate interventions for people with body image concerns and provide information regarding the promotion of body image satisfaction within the wider community.

What will happen to the information I provide?

All data will be kept strictly confidential and will be secured at all times during the research, with only the project investigators having access to the information. Once research is complete, data will be stored in the locked archives at the RMIT University Bundoora West Campus for the standard 5 year period, and then be destroyed. Any information that you provide can be disclosed only if (1) it is to protect you or others from harm, (2) a court order is produced, or (3) you provide the researchers with written permission. The data obtained from this project will form part of the Primary Investigator’s Doctoral Thesis and may also feature in journal publications, presentations and conferences, however only the group data will be used and under no circumstances will individual scores be reported.

What are my rights as a participant?

As a participant in this research, you have the right to withdraw from this study at any time, without prejudice. You also have the right to have any questions answered at any time. Due to the completely anonymous nature of this study, no identifying information will be placed on your completed questionnaire package. As such, it will not be possible to withdraw your questionnaire from the study once it has been returned or submitted. Please read through this information sheet and look through the questionnaire prior to deciding whether you would like to participate.

Who should I contact if I have any questions?

If you have any questions regarding this study, please feel free to contact Amanda Cvetanovski via email at amanda.cvetanovski@rmit.edu.au . Alternatively, you may contact Associate Professor David Smith on 9925 7523 or via email at david.smith@rmit.edu.au or Ms Patricia Altieri on 9925 7722 or via email at trish.altieri@rmit.edu.au.

If you have any complaints or queries that the researcher has not been able to answer to your satisfaction, you may contact the Executive Officer Peter Burke at RMIT Human Research Ethics Committee, Research and Innovation, RMIT University, Melbourne, 3001 (Ph: 9925 6597, e-mail: peter.burke@rmit.edu.au).

Yours sincerely,

Amanda Cvetanovski
B.Sc.Sc. (Psych), B.A.Sc (Hons)

A/Prof David Smith,
B.B.Sc (Hons), MPsych (Clin), PhD

Patricia Altieri
B.B.Sc., MPsych

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