Companion animals and well-being during the Covid-19 pandemic
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You are invited to take part in a survey about the influence of companion animal guardianship (pet ownership) on well-being during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. Please read this information before you decide if you would like to take part. If you have any questions please contact us using the details at the bottom of this page.

What is the purpose of the research?
This aim of this research is to understand the relationship between companion animal guardianship and people’s well-being during the Covid-19 pandemic. We are particularly interested in the experiences of people who keep fish, as very little research has looked at the relationship between keeping fish and mental well-being. However, the survey is open to anyone, anywhere in the world provided they are aged 18+ years, and you don’t have to keep a companion animal (pet) to take part. Please note the survey is only available in English.

Do I have to take part?
No, your participation is entirely voluntary, so it’s completely up to you whether you take part. Data will be collected anonymously, so nobody will be able to link you to the information you provide. If you do take part you can stop at any time, but please note that you won’t be able to withdraw any data you’ve provided up until that point.

What will happen to me if I take part?
The focus of the survey is on your mental well-being during the Covid-19 pandemic, so you will be asked some questions about your thoughts, feelings and emotions, and how these have been affected by the pandemic. You will also be asked to provide some details about yourself (e.g. age, gender), your companion animals (if you have any) and how you interact with them, and your life during the pandemic (such as how often you have communicated with other people). You will only be asked to complete the survey once, and this is estimated to take about 25-30 minutes but if you have lots of companion animals it may take longer.

What are the possible benefits of taking part?
It’s unlikely you’ll experience any direct benefits from the research, but it will help us to develop an understanding of the experiences of companion animal guardians during the pandemic. It will also add to the body of evidence exploring the supposed links between human well-being and human-animal interaction.

Are there any risks to taking part?
Although we don’t anticipate any major risks associated with the research, it is possible that thinking about the pandemic and how it has made you feel might make you uncomfortable or distressed. If you think this is likely, we advise that you don’t take part. If you feel you need emotional support and would like to talk to someone, the website www.befrienders.org provides telephone helpline numbers for all over the world. You could also try to contact your doctor or GP, who may be able to refer you to an appropriate service.

What will happen to my data?
Your data will be analysed by researchers from the University of the West of Scotland. The findings will be written up as part of the researcher’s Ph.D. thesis and in scientific reports. They may also be presented at seminars or conferences. All data are collected anonymously, so it can never be linked to you. Data will be stored securely for up to ten years at the University of the West of Scotland, after which they will be destroyed.

Who organised, funded and approved the research?
This research is organised by Heather Clements, a Ph.D. student at the University of the West of Scotland. The Ph.D. was funded by the University of the West of Scotland and Mars Petcare UK. This study has been approved by the School of Health & Life Sciences Ethics Committee at the University of the West of Scotland, and the Mars Research Review Board.

Who can I contact for more information?

Heather Clements, Ph.D. Student
Email: Heather.Clements@uws.ac.uk

Prof. Katherine Sloman, Lead Supervisor
Email: Katherine.Sloman@uws.ac.uk


If you have any concerns and you would like to contact someone at the University of the West of Scotland who knows about the study but isn’t directly involved, please contact:

Dr Gary Boyd, Chair of the Ethics Committee, School of Health & Life Sciences
Email: Gary.Boyd@uws.ac.uk

Consent

I confirm that:

• I have read and understood the above information and have had the opportunity to ask questions
• I understand that my participation is voluntary
• I understand that the data I provide is anonymous and cannot be linked to me in any way
• I understand that because data are collected anonymously, they cannot be withdrawn after I submit the survey or if I leave part way through
• I understand the data I provide will be stored securely for up to ten years after the study ends
• I confirm I am 18 years of age or above

Do you consent to take part in this research?
(By selecting "yes" you are confirming that you agree with the above statements) *