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Affection Sharing Practices in Romantic Relationships

Informed Consent

Affection Sharing Practices in Romantic Relationships & Related Experiences Study 

Co-investigator, Dr. Karen Blair,  St. Francis Xavier University

Co-investigator, Dr. Diane Holmberg, Acadia University

Student Researcher, Odessa McKenna

St. Francis Xavier University

Student Researcher, Chelsea Hudson
Acadia University

Research Ethics Board Chair, Dr. Stephen Maitzen, Acadia University

You are being invited to participate in a research study about sharing affection within romantic relationships. This research project is being conducted by Dr. Diane Holmberg and Chelsea Hudson of Acadia University, and by Dr. Karen Blair and Odessa McKenna of St. Francis Xavier University, and is being funded by St. Francis Xavier University’s SSHRC Institutional Grant. The objective of this research project is to attempt to understand how couples share affection in different spaces, including public and private spaces. The questionnaire is being conducted online. It will give us some basic information about how individuals share affection, why they share affection, where they share affection and the individual and couple differences that are associated with affection sharing practices. All participants must be 18 years of age or older, and currently in a self-identified same-sex or mixed-sex relationship.

What will I be asked to do?

You will be asked to provide some basic demographic information, such as age, gender identity, ethnicity, sexuality, and so on, as well as information on when, where, and how you share affection with your partner, plus some information about your attitudes and your well-being. Completing this questionnaire will take you approximately one hour.

Are there any risks associated with participating in this study?  

There are no known risks if you decide to participate in this research study, nor are there any costs to you for participating in the study. In the event that thinking about your experiences of sharing affection (or not) with your partner upsets you, you may find it useful to use the internet to search for counseling services in your region. Most areas have free support lines that you can call to discuss problematic issues. Note that agreeing to this consent form does not waive your rights to legal recourse in the event that you experience any harm from this study. There are no conflicts of interest in conducting this study, and the data will not be used commercially in any way.

Is there any form of compensation for my time?  

By participating in this study, you will be entered into a prize draw for a gift card (Amazon) for $50 Canadian, or local equivalent. This prize draw will be repeated each month, as long as the study is ongoing, and you are eligible for every monthly draw from when you participate until the study concludes. If both partners from one romantic relationship participate, they will each be entered into an additional draw for $500. If you choose to give us your email address when asked, and if you fit the characteristics we are looking for when we conduct future studies (e.g., particular demographic groups, or particular affection sharing experiences), you may also be contacted at a future date to participate in an interview study, a daily diary study, or other follow-up studies. Participation in any subsequent studies is completely voluntary; you can decide to participate or not in any one of them, as you prefer. We will provide compensation, in the form of payment or entries into prize draws, for any future studies we ask you to participate in.  

Is my data safe? Who will see my answers? 

This survey is confidential. We will not ask for any directly identifying information. All data will be analyzed as a group and presented in such a way that you are not individually identifiable. However, we will ask you to provide an email address, so that you may be contacted if you win the prize draw and/or if you are invited to participate in future studies. If you would like to further protect your privacy, please provide an email address that does not contain your name or any other potentially identifying information. The email address you provide for this study will only be used for the purposes described, and will never be shared with any third parties.

Please note, if you complete this questionnaire using a public or workplace computer, the information that you transmit may be monitored by the owner of the computer or network.

Where will the results of this research be published? 

The results of the study will be shared through academic publications, academic conference presentations, and media articles. If you are interested in learning the results of this program of research, you may do so by checking our website:

Is my participation voluntary? How can I withdraw?

Your participation in this study is completely voluntary. If at any point you wish to withdraw from the study, simply exit the survey by closing your browser window. However, any partial data already entered on previous pages cannot be removed from the dataset, as we will have no way of identifying your data. Also, note that you can only be entered into the prize draw and be contacted for future studies if you provide us with an email address. If you wish to withdraw your data after survey completion, send us your email address and we will remove your data, as long as it is still possible to do so; however, if the data you provide here has already been used in any studies or has been de-identified, it will no longer be possible to remove your data.

How is my data being stored? 

Data provided here, still linked to your email address, will be stored until follow-up studies are conducted. We expect these studies will be completed within the next year or two. After this time, your email address will be deleted, leaving your data fully de-identified. Your data will be stored on a secure server, and only downloaded onto password-protected computers stored in locked offices. This questionnaire stores its data on Survey Gizmo’s servers, which are housed in Canada. Note that although we take full security precautions (e.g., secure storage sites; encrypted data files), any data sent electronically or stored online might potentially be accessed by domestic or foreign authorities.

Is there anything else I should know about this study? 

You will also be given the opportunity to invite your partner to the study. This is entirely optional. If you do choose to invite your partner to the study, then you will be provided with the text of an email that you can send to your partner, along with a unique link to the survey that will automatically link your data to your partner’s data, without ever allowing either of you to see the other’s responses. If both you and your partner complete the survey, you will each be entered into an additional prize draw to win $500.

What can I do if I have questions? 

If you have any questions or concerns about completing the questionnaire or about being in this study, you may contact any of the researchers at the email addresses listed above. If you have questions while completing the study, and are using a desktop computer to complete the survey, you can contact us directly by using the "questions" button that will appear in the lower right of your screen. 

1. If you have read and understood this form, had your questions answered to your satisfaction, and wish to participate in this study, please click the box below.  This is equivalent to providing your signature. *This question is required.
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