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Research Study looking for volunteers

Tom Sanders is looking for volunteers for a research study being conducted at the University of Hertfordshire that is aiming to explore how long-term physical symptoms (which have not been effectively explained or treated) affect a person's sense of mind-body identity. This research will involve a single, structured face to face interview lasting between 1 and 1.5 hours, which can be done face to face in person at a convenient location, or via Skype. If you are interested in taking part or have any questions please contact Tom directly on 07544790897 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 


there is also the following facebook site for the study: 


Paricipant Information Sheet

Part 1: Introduction to the study

Why is this study being done?

The study is interested in understanding how the body contributes to a person’s view of themselves and others, and how this relates to wellbeing. It will explore this for people who have a persisting physical symptom for which tests and scans come back negative and effective treatment has been problematic.

Why am I being asked to take part in this study?

You have been invited to this study because you have been experiencing a long-term symptom which has one or more of the following characteristics:

-has not been given a medical explanation

-affects your everyday life

-nothing that you have tried has provided relief

-has no medical diagnosis but results in increased stress or you feeling low.


Do I have to take part?
It is completely up to you whether or not you decide to take part in this study. Your consent will be sought at each step of the process. Agreeing to join the study does not mean that you have to complete it. You are free to withdraw at any stage without giving a reason. Your data will be removed from the study.


You are advised to let your GP know that you are taking part in this study. However, this is not essential and is your decision.


PLEASE NOTE: this study cannot reimburse any expenses relating to travel or time spent taking part in the study. The researcher will be flexible with regards to the location and timing of interviews to make taking part as convenient and cost-free as possible for you.


Part 2: The research procedure

What will I be asked to do?

Once you have read the information and if you are interested in taking part, you can contact the researcher directly by post, email or phone to opt-in. The researcher will then arrange with you a convenient time and location for the face to face interview.


At the face to face interview, the researcher will first ask you to complete a written consent form to say that you agree to take part in the study and that you are aware of your rights as a research participant. You will be asked to provide some information about yourself (e.g. age, sex, ethnicity) to help the research team know who is taking part in the study. You will then complete three brief, structured questionnaires with the guidance of the researcher. One of the questionnaires will ask you to identify a physical symptom that you have sought help for, and ask you to rate the severity and physical, social and emotional impact of this symptom over the past week. The other two questionnaires (9-items and 7-items-long) will ask you to report on any symptoms of anxiety and depression that you may have experienced over the past couple of weeks.


The researcher will then offer you the opportunity to do an optional 10-minute guidedmindfulness exercise to raise awareness of internal and external embodied experience. You are welcome to keep a copy of the instruction sheet for this exercise if you find it helpful.

Finally, the researcher will ask you to list some significant people in your life and will write these down on cards. They will hand you three cards at a time representing different people (such as myself, how I’d like to be, someone I dislike) and ask you to state what you think are important physical and personality differences between them. When you give us the name of a word that describes a difference, we will ask you what the opposite of that word is to you. We will continue to do this using three different cards at a time and then finally ask you to rate each person numerically according to some of the words you came up with. You will not be required to write anything down in this part of the study. The Main Researcher will write down all your responses. There will not be any audio or video recording of interviews.


This interview can involve multiple breaks as needed, and can be done across more than one meeting if doing it all at once would be too physically demanding.


When the interview is complete, you will be asked if you would like be contacted for a possible follow-up study to the current study (e.g. after you have completed a course at Pathways2Wellbeing). This is not part of the current project and is entirely your choice.


What are potential advantages and disadvantages of taking part?

Taking part can be an interesting and stimulating experience, encouraging reflection on personal links between mind and body at a stage where you may not have had the opportunity to do this. There is an optional 10-minute guided mindfulness exercise that promotes making links between mind and body, and you are welcome to keep a copy of the script for this.

The face to face interview is expected to last between an hour and an hour and a half, which may present physical demands such as discomfort or tiredness. The researcher will try to make taking part as comfortable as possible, such as arranging the interview at a location where you will be comfortable, having breaks, and dividing up the interview across several meetings.

The content of the interviews may be of a personal nature, and there is a possibility that you may find some things upsetting to talk about. The researcher will support you during the interviews if you become upset and will offer further support through providing information about resources in your community if you wish. You may of course withdraw from the study at any point without any consequences and without giving a reason.


Part 3: Confidentiality and your rights

Who will know about my taking part in the study?

Only the research team at the University of Hertfordshire will be aware of your participation. You are encouraged to notify your GP if you are taking part. However, this is your choice.


What will happen to my data?

All data collected during the interview will be in written form (no audio or video recordings will be made of interviews). Your data will be kept securely in a locked storage space on the premises of the University of Hertfordshire, where only the research team has access, for up to five years. Any personal responses collected during interviews will be identified with participant-codes which we use to ensure that it is linked anonymous – meaning that your interview responses cannot be linked to any information that identifies who you are. Your contact details and linked-anonymous study data will be stored on password-protected documents, on encrypted storage devices located at the University of Hertfordshire or with the researcher. Your data will be stored securely for up to 5 years after which time it will destroyed. If, at any point, the research team had concerns that the participant or another person were at risk to themselves or others, they may share your details with the relevant services, letting you know that they are doing this if appropriate.


What if I’m concerned or unhappy about some aspect of the study?

If you have any concerns about any aspect of this study, you should ask to speak to the Main Researcher, who will do their best to respond to any questions or questions.

Who has reviewed the study?

This research has been reviewed by The University of Hertfordshire, Health and Human Sciences Ethics Committee with Delegated Authority (protocol number: LMS/PGR/UH/02724)



If you would like to participate:

Please let the researcher know that you would like to take part by doing one of the following:

emailing the researcher directly at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

contacting the researcher by telephone on 07544790897

completing and returning the opt-in slip below to the return address.


If you are interested or unsure but would like to know more

You can fill in the response form below indicating that you would like to be contacted, or alternatively you can make direct contact with the researcher via email or phone (above) with any queries.


If you do not wish to take part in the study at the current time you do not need to do anything. You will not be contacted further.


‘A personal-construct study with persons experiencing persistent bodily symptoms for which tests, investigations and scans come back negative (MUS)’ (Study title)

Please complete and return this form in the enclosed stamped and addressed envelope indicating with a tick whether you would like to a) take part in the study or alternatively b) if you would like to be contacted to find out more information. Thank you for your co-operation.


o I confirm that I am interested in participating in the research study

o I am unsure as to whether I would like to take part in the research at

this stage but would like someone to contact me to provide further information.


Name: ………………………………………………………………………….

Best daytime contact telephone no:…………………………………………

I am/am not happy for a message to be left on this number (please delete as appropriate).


Please return completed forms to: Tom Sanders, Trainee Clinical Psychologist, 1F414 Health Research Building, College Lane Campus, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, AL10 9AB


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