CONSENT

PARTICIPANT INFORMATION SHEET

Evaluating the impact of the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal on knowledge, behavioural intentions and health behaviours related to physical mobility

Locally Responsible Principal Investigator & Co-Principal Investigator:

Dr. Sarah Neil-Sztramko, PhD
School of Nursing, McMaster University
175 Longwood Rd South, Suite 210a
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
(905) 525-9140 ext. 20459
E-mail: neilszts@mcmaster.ca

Co-Principal Investigator:

Dr. Maureen Dobbins
School of Nursing, McMaster University
175 Longwood Rd South, Suite 210a
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
(905) 525-9140 ext. 20455
E-mail: dobbinsm@mcmaster.ca

Co-Investigators:

Dr. Julie Richardson, PhD
School of Rehabilitation Sciences, McMaster University
1400 Main St. West, IAHS 443
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
(905) 525-9240 ext. 27811
E-mail: jrichard@mcmaster.ca

Jenna Smith-Turchyn
School of Rehabilitation Sciences, McMaster University
1280 Main St West, MDCL 3117
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
(905) 525-9240 ext. 27811
E-mail: smithjf@mcmaster.ca

Susannah Watson
School of Nursing, McMaster University
175 Longwood Rd South, Suite 210a
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
(905) 525-9140 ext. 20461
E-mail: swatson@healthevidence.ca

Funding Source:

This study is supported through funding provided by the Labarge Optimal Aging Opportunities Fund


You are being invited to participate in a research study conducted by Dr. Sarah Neil-Sztramko, Dr. Maureen Dobbins and their study team because you are an adult over the age of 40.

In order to decide whether or not you want to be a part of this research study, you should understand what is involved and the potential risks and benefits. This form gives detailed information about the research study, which will be discussed with you. Once you understand the study, you will be asked to sign this form if you wish to participate. Please take your time to make your decision.

WHY IS THIS RESEARCH BEING DONE?

The McMaster Optimal Aging Portal (the Portal) was launched in 2014 to increase public access to trustworthy health information. The Portal helps readers to access evidence-based resources, identify trustworthy messages and understand scientific findings. Now we want to know whether using the Portal changes what people know and do to stay healthy and mobile.

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THIS STUDY?

The purpose of this study is to determine if using the Portal, mobility-specific email alerts and/or social media (Twitter and/or Facebook) changes what adults over 40 know, intend to do, and do to increase and maintain mobility, as well as the uptake and satisfaction with these strategies.

WHAT WILL MY RESPONSIBILITIES BE IF I TAKE PART IN THE STUDY?

If you volunteer to participate in this study, we will ask you to do the following things:

Complete an electronic survey at three different points in time. These three points in time will be: 1) at the beginning of the study and 2) at the end of the study (12-weeks later) and 3) 3-months after the study is finished. This survey will ask about demographic information, use of the internet for health information, knowledge, beliefs, intentions and behaviours related to mobility, and satisfaction with the Portal, mobility-specific email alerts, and/or social media. Each survey will take approximately 20 minutes to complete.

At the end of the study we will ask you if you would be willing to take part in a 30-minute telephone interview to gather more information about your experiences with the Portal and the study. Of those who are willing, we will select 50 participants to be interviewed. This is an optional portion of the study, and you may decline to take part in this interview without affecting your participation in the main study.

After completing the first electronic survey, participants in the study will be assigned at random, that is, by a method of chance (like a flip of a coin), to one of two groups. You will have a 1 in 2 chance of being in the group that receives the mobility-specific intervention and a 1 in 2 chance of being in the group that accesses the Portal in a self-serve fashion.

If you are in the group that receives the mobility-specific intervention you will receive weekly e-mail alerts with information specific to maintaining and increasing mobility. Twitter and Facebook are social networking services. Short character messages called “Tweets” will be sent at least once per week and throughout the project by the study team. This information will also be posted to the study Facebook page.

If you are in the self-serve control group, you will have regular access to the Portal. You will be able to sign up for Portal e-mail alerts, and follow the Portal on social media; however this information will not be specific to mobility.

WHAT ARE THE POSSIBLE RISKS AND DISCOMFORTS?

As part of this study, you may decide to increase your physical activity. Potential risks of increasing physical activity include a feeling of tiredness, muscle soreness and shortness of breath during exercise.

It is possible that you may feel inconvenienced with the time and effort to participate in this study; However, you can refuse to answer any questions on the questionnaires that you may feel uncomfortable with, you can choose to opt out of receiving email alerts and/or social media messages and you can decline participation at any time.

HOW MANY PEOPLE WILL BE IN THIS STUDY?

It is expected that a total of 597 participants will be recruited to take part in this study.

WHAT ARE THE POSSIBLE BENEFITS FOR ME AND/OR FOR SOCIETY?

We cannot promise any personal benefits to you from your participation in this study. However, possible benefits include improved knowledge related to mobility and strategies you may employ to help you to stay active and mobile and improve your health.

Based on the study findings, we will be able to identify improvements to the Portal and its content, which will help ensuring the content and delivery of information through the Portal will be most effective at encouraging behaviour change and ultimately improving mobility and overall health. This information has implications for the Portal, and also other health information websites and online health promotion initiatives.

IF I DO NOT WANT TO TAKE PART IN THE STUDY, ARE THERE OTHER CHOICES?

It is important for you to know that you can choose not to take part in the study. You can withdraw at any time.

WHAT INFORMATION WILL BE KEPT PRIVATE?

Your data will not be shared with anyone except with your consent or as required by law. All personal information such as your name or email address will be removed from the data and will be replaced with a number. Only the members of the study team will have access to this information. A list linking the number with your name will be kept in a secure place, separate from your file. The data, with identifying information removed will be securely stored in a locked office in the research office. Electronic files will be maintained on a password protected computer on a secure network. If the results of the study are published, no information that discloses your identity will be released or published without your specific consent to the disclosure. All study data will be destroyed after 10 years.

For the purposes of ensuring the proper monitoring of the research study, it is possible that a member of the Hamilton Integrated Research Ethics Board may consult your research data. However, no records which identify you by name or initials will be allowed to leave the research office. By signing this consent form, you or your legally acceptable representative authorize such access.

CAN PARTICIPATION IN THE STUDY END EARLY?

If you volunteer to be in this study, you may withdraw at any time. You have the option of removing your data from the study. You may also refuse to answer any questions you don’t want to answer and still remain in the study. Should you wish to withdraw from the study, contact the Locally Responsible Investigator, Sarah Neil-Sztramko by phone (905-525-9140, ext 20459) or email (neilszts@mcmaster.ca).

WILL I BE PAID TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS STUDY?

You will not receive any financial compensation for taking part in this study.

WILL THERE BE ANY COSTS?

Your participation in this research project will not involve any additional costs to you.

WHAT HAPPENS IF I HAVE A RESEARCH-RELATED INJURY?

If you are injured as a direct result of taking part in this study, all necessary medical treatment will be made available to you at no cost. Financial compensation for such things as lost wages, disability or discomfort due to this type of injury is not routinely available. However, if you sign this consent form it does not mean that you waive any legal rights you may have under the law, nor does it mean that you are releasing the investigator(s), institution(s) and/or sponsor(s) from their legal and professional responsibilities.

IF I HAVE ANY QUESTIONS OR PROBLEMS, WHOM CAN I CALL?

If you have any questions about the research now or later, contact the Locally Responsible Investigator (Sarah Neil-Sztramko, neilszts@mcmaster.ca) or any of the Co-Investigators listed above.


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This study has been reviewed by the Hamilton Integrated Research Ethics Board (HIREB). The HIREB is responsible for ensuring that participants are informed of the risks associated with the research, and that participants are free to decide if participation is right for them. If you have any questions about your rights as a research participant, please call the Office of the Chair, Hamilton Integrated Research Ethics Board at 905.521.2100 x 42013.