Page 1: Participant Information

Study title

Stress induced eating: A qualitative study



This is your invitation to take part in a Robert Gordon University PhD Psychology research project. Here, you will find more information about the project. This information will help you decide whether participating in this project is the right thing for you. Therefore, please, do read the information carefully.


Purpose of the study

One factor that contributes to the development of obesity is eating in response to stress. However, relatively little is known about which stresses make people overeat and what are factors that promote and protect against this effect. Therefore, this project seeks the stress eating experiences of people with a high BMI.


What’s involved?

The study has two parts. In the first part, you will complete an online questionnaire. The questionnaire will ask for some background information about yourself, and it should take less than 10 minutes to complete. In the second part, you will be interviewed about your experiences of stress-induced eating. The interviews will take place on Skype. The audio portion of the interview will be recorded. The interview length is variable, but it is likely to be around 45-60 minutes. You will be entered into a raffle where you will have the chance to win a £100 gift card.


Who can take part in this study?

To be able to take part in the study you must:

(i) be a UK adult (18 or over)

(ii) have a high BMI (body mass index equal to or more than 30)

(iii) be a stress eater (you eat food when you are stressed)

(iv) do not have any diagnosed eating disorders

(v) not be pregnant


Do I have to take part?

Participation in this study is voluntary. It is your choice as to whether you do or do not want to take part in this study. If you choose to take part in the study, you will be asked to complete a consent form.


What if I want to withdraw from the study?

Within the study, you can refuse to answer any questions.

In addition, you can choose to withdraw from the study completely until one week after you have completed your interview. To withdraw from the study, you do not have to give any reasons. If you choose to withdraw from the study, all of your data will be destroyed. As a consequence, you can not be entered into the raffle.


What are the possible disadvantages and risks in taking part?

The second part of the study, the interviews, can sometimes be long. Whilst most interviews will finish by 1 hour, some may be in excess of 1 hour. Therefore, if this session extends beyond 1 hour, you will be given the opportunity to have a break.


The interview session will be an in-depth discussion about the various stressors that make you overeat. Hence, you might find it upsetting to talk about these different stressors and/or your eating behaviour in general. If you are finding the interviews too stressful, the interviews will be stopped, and you will be given time to regroup. After this, you will be able to decide whether you want to continue with the interview. Also, you will receive information about support services and organisations once you have completed the interview.


The Skype interview may be monitored and stored by organisations — such as government agencies and Skype — to make sure that nothing illegal took place. Therefore, potentially, people other than the research team may have access to the conversations. However, this is outside the control of the research team, and this can happen with any Skype conversations.


What are the possible benefits of taking part?

You can potentially win a gift card worth £100. Also, your participation will help to improve our understanding of the topic of stress-induced eating. As a result, this improved understanding is likely to lead in time to the creation of interventions that make people eat less when they are stressed.


How will my information be kept confidential by the research team?

All data will be processed as per the Data Protection Act 2018.


Any identifiable information from the questionnaires (such as your e-mail id) will be removed from the main data set, and it will be kept in a separate password-protected file.


The interview data will be audio recorded using an encrypted password/fingerprint protected mobile phone. Within 24 hours, the audio recording will be transferred from the phone to an encrypted and password-protected computer and the phone recording will be deleted. These audio recordings on the computer will be deleted as soon as they are transcribed.


Your data will be held for a maximum of 6 years. Such a long period is required as (i) it will take around 3 years for the whole PhD project to be completed and (ii) independent verification of the data may be requested after the PhD thesis has been published. After 6 years, all research data will be destroyed except those which is already in the public domain: PhD thesis, conference presentations, and published articles.


Although your right to confidentiality will be respected by the research team in almost all circumstances, there are a few expectations. These include if you talk about harming yourself or others.


What will happen to the results of this study?

The results of this study will be written up as a research project. This written work will partially fulfil the requirement for a degree: PhD in Psychology at the Robert Gordon University. In addition, the results will be presented at various meetings and be published in journals.


In the write-up, presentations, and publications, extracts from the interviews will be used. However, these extracts will be anonymised and any identifiable information - such as your name or place names — will be removed and be replaced with alternatives.


What happens next if I do decide to take part?

You will proceed next stage where you will provide consent and some basic information about yourself. After you complete the online part of the study, you will be contacted by the researcher to arrange a time for the interview.


Who has reviewed this study?

This project has been reviewed and approved by the Robert Gordon University’s School of Applied Social Studies Ethics Review Panel. The review deemed that the project met the ethical guidelines stipulated by the British Psychological Society.


Further information and contact details

If you would like any further information or have any question, please do not hesitate to contact the researcher or his principal supervisor.


Anand P Swayamprakasam

PhD Candidate in Psychology

Robert Gordon University



Dr Gemma Stevens

Principal Supervisor

Lecturer in Psychology

+44 (0)1224 263231

School of Applied Social Studies

Robert Gordon University

Garthdee House

Garthdee Road


AB10 7QB