Welcome to the Chronic Pain Partner Study!
Read on to learn more about the study and to get started.

Introduction

Chronic pain not only affects patients, but also their romantic partners. Partners are often required to make significant lifestyle changes as a result of their spouse's chronic pain condition. Although much research has focused on patients' adjustment to chronic pain, we are just now learning what it means for partners to come to terms with their spouse's chronic pain. The purpose of this study is to validate a new questionnaire that assesses partners' adjustment to their spouse's chronic pain. At the end of the survey, you will be given the option to participate in a brief follow-up study in two weeks time.

Who is eligible to participate?

In order to be eligible for this study, you must currently be in a co-habitating romantic relationship of at least 1 year with a patient who experiences chronic pain (e.g., arthritis, back/neck pain, neuropathic pain syndromes, migraines, muscle pain syndromes). You must also be at least 21 years of age, fluent in English, reside in North America, and have access to the Internet. You are not eligible to participate if you have a chronic pain condition yourself.

What will participating involve?
This study is an online survey. After providing informed consent, you will provide background information about yourself (e.g., age, gender, ethnicity, education) and your spouse's chronic pain condition (e.g., diagnosis, date of diagnosis). Next you will be asked to complete a series of questionnaires that assess partner adjustment and individual/relationship well-being. We expect the survey to take no longer than 30 minutes to complete. At the end of the survey, you will be given the option to be contacted by the researcher via email in two weeks time to complete the new questionnaire a second time. The follow-up survey is expected to take no longer than 10 minutes to complete and will help us evaluate the quality of the questionnaire in greater detail.

What risks and benefits are associated with participating?

By participating in this study, you are helping us create a reliable and valid questionnaire that can be used to assess partners' adjustment to their spouse's chronic pain. Learning more about how partners come to terms with their spouse's chronic pain will help us develop more effective interventions for patients and partners.

There are minimal risks involved in this study. Specifically, it is possible that responding to these questionnaires, which require you to draw on your personal experiences, can be emotional for some people. Please note, however, that you are not obligated to respond to every question if you are uncomfortable in any way (i.e., you can choose to respond or not respond to each question). The only cost to you will be the time you take to participate. In appreciation for your time, you will be given the opportunity to enter your email address into a draw for a $25 CAD Amazon gift card (1 in 12 odds). You can be entered into an additional draw if you complete the follow-up study in two weeks time.

Is this confidential and who will know what I say?
Your survey responses are completely anonymous. You will be asked to provide a unique user ID (i.e., your first, middle, and last initials followed by your four-digit year of birth) to link your responses should you choose to participate in the follow-up study; however, it will be impossible for the researchers to identify you based on your user ID alone. In addition, you will be given the option to provide your email address at the end of the survey if you are interested in participating in the follow-up survey, wish to enter the gift card draw, would like a copy of the study results, or are interested in participating in future research, but your email will not be connected to your survey responses. Your email and all other data will be stored separately on a password-protected computer in a locked office at the University of New Brunswick (UNB) and held for a maximum of 7 years, at which time it will be destroyed.

Is my participation voluntary?
Taking part in this study is entirely voluntary. Should you choose not to take part, or if you wish to withdraw from the study at any time after starting, you can do so without consequences. You have a right to refuse to respond to individual questions or withdraw completely. Should you choose to withdraw once the study begins, simply click 'Next' to navigate through the survey until you are prompted to enter your email address for the draw.

Will I have access to the study results?
A summary of the study results will be available once all data have been collected and analyzed. This will likely take longer than 1 year. At the end of the survey, you will be given an option to enter your email address if you are interested in receiving a copy of the findings.

Ethical approval
This project is on file with the UNB Research Ethics Board (REB#2018-065). If you have any questions or concerns about your rights or treatment as a research participant, you can contact the Chair of the Psychology Research Ethics Committee, Dr. Biljana Stevanovski, at (506)458-7693, or the Chair of the UNB Research Ethics Board, Dr. Steven Turner, at (506)453-5189. 

What if I have more questions?
Please feel free to contact the researchers listed below to ask any questions you may have about this study.

Kirsten Gullickson
Email: kgullick@unb.ca
Phone: (306)501-4571

Dr. Diane LaChapelle
Email: diane.lachapelle@unb.ca
Phone: (506)458-7744

PLEASE NOTE: For optimal viewing, we suggest this survey be completed on a computer. If you are doing the survey on a tablet or mobile device, beware of distorted formatting; you may have to scroll right to see the rest of the page and some text may be out of alignment. 
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