Participant Information Sheet

Study title: What are relatives' experiences of supporting a family member receiving electroconvulsive therapy? A qualitative exploration

My name is Kerry Irving and I am conducting this research as part of my training on the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology programme at Lancaster University.

What is this study about?

The purpose of this study is to learn more about the experiences of people who have been involved in supporting their relative through treatment with electroconvulsive therapy (also known as ECT or electric shock therapy). We hope to find out how people feel about the process, including their own level of involvement with the person and decisions about their care, and whether or not they feel they received enough support and information.

Why have I been approached?

You have been approached because the study requires information from people who have supported a relative, partner or close friend who has been given ECT. To take part in the study, you should have been 18 years or over when your relative received ECT.

Do I have to take part?

No, it is completely up to you to decide whether or not you want to take part in the study. If you decide not to take part, your medical care and legal rights will not be affected.

What will I be asked to do if I take part?

If you decide you would like to take part, you would be asked to meet with me for a one-off interview. This can also be done online or by telephone if you live a long way away. At the meeting you will have the chance to ask any questions about the study and if you are happy, I will ask you to sign a consent form indicating that you have agreed to take part.

I will then ask you some questions about your experiences of supporting your relative through ECT and the interview should last around one hour, although this can vary. You are welcome to take comfort breaks at any time and you should be aware that you can stop at any time during the interview without giving a reason.

I will use a mobile audio recorder to record the interview. This is important so that I can type up what you have said accurately after we have met. After all of the interviews have been completed, I will look at what you and other participants have said and see if there are any common themes. At this point, I would like to contact you again by email or post to check that the themes I have found make sense to you.

If you decide you would like to withdraw from the study, you are welcome to do so without giving a reason. If you withdraw up to two weeks following the interview your data will removed from the study and will be destroyed, however if you withdraw after this point the data will remain in the study.

Will my data be confidential?

The information you provide will be confidential. The information you give for the study will be stored securely and only the researchers conducting the study will have access to it.

  • Audio recordings will be deleted after approximately one week, once they have been typed up and checked.
  • Any paper copies and consent forms will be kept in a locked filing cabinet for the duration of the study.
  • Electronic files will be stored on a secure drive and password protected so that no-one other than the researcher can access them.
  • At the end of the study, all paper copies will be destroyed and the electronic files will be stored by Lancaster University on a secure drive for 10 years.
  • The typed version of your interview will be made anonymous by removing any identifying information including your name. Direct quotations from you may be used in the reports from the study but these will also be anonymised so your name will not be attached to them. The researcher will make sure you cannot be identified in any reports.
There are limits to confidentiality. If what is said in the interview makes me think that you or someone else is at significant risk of harm, I would need to speak to my research supervisor and possibly other services that might help support you. Wherever possible, I will speak to you first if I have to do this.

Who will know if I decide to take part?

The researcher involved in the study will know that you have decided to take part. The relative that you supported through ECT does not need to know that you are taking part. The study is focusing on your experiences and you will not need to discuss personal information about your relative.

What will happen to the results?

The results will be summarised and written up into a report which will be submitted to Lancaster University for assessment. The report may also be submitted for publication in an academic journal. If you would like to receive a copy of the final report, please make the researcher aware of this.

Are there any risks?

There are no risks identified with participating in this study. However, if you experience any distress during or following participation you are encouraged to inform the researcher and contact the resources provided at the end of this sheet.

Are there any benefits to taking part?

There are no direct benefits to taking part, although you may find participation interesting.

Who has reviewed the project?

This study has been reviewed and approved by the North West Research Ethics Committee at Liverpool Central.

Where can I obtain further information about the study?

If you have any further questions about the study, please contact the main researcher: Kerry Irving
Mobile: 07852518497

Research Supervisor: Dr Suzanne Hodge, Lecturer
Phone: 01524 592712

Field Supervisor: Dr Stephen Weatherhead, Clinical Psychologist
Phone: 01524 592974


If you wish to make a complaint or raise concerns about any aspect of this study and do not want to speak to the researcher, you can contact:

Dr Jane Simpson, Research Director and Senior Lecturer
Phone: 01524 592 858
Doctorate in Clinical Psychology
Division of Health Research
Furness Building
Lancaster University

If you wish to speak to someone outside of the Clinical Psychology Doctorate Programme, you may also contact:

Professor Bruce Hollingsworth, Head of the Division of Health Research
Phone: 0 1524 594154
Division of Health Research
Furness Building
Lancaster University

Resources in the event of distress

Should you feel distressed either as a result of taking part or in the future, the following resources may be of assistance.

Samaritans 08457 90 90 90
Rethink Carers Lancashire 0121 522 7007
Cheshire and Warrington Carers Centre 0800 085 0307
St Helens Carers Centre 01744 675 615

Thank you for taking the time to read this information sheet.