Are there any benefits or disadvantages to taking part?

There are no serious disadvantages to taking part. If you received an ad about this study from a teacher or another adult in charge of a program or class you were in, they will not know whether or not you decided to participate, unless you tell them. You can choose how much you participate and what you share. While we cannot control what other teens in the discussion do with what you say, we will do our best to make sure your discussions are with your friends, or other young people you know and feel comfortable with and trust, and we will ask all participants to not share the thoughts and opinions from the discussion outside the group. If you are worried about what you say with a group, you can instead arrange with us to just talk to two members of the research team, instead of the research team and a group of your friends. We note that, if you were to disclose some information or give some other clue that you might be in danger or be a danger to someone else, we have to report it, to keep you and other young people safe. You and your parent/ guardian can read about the details of when, how, and to whom we would have to report on our study’s website (see the “Safeguarding Protocol” on our Participate in our study page.

We hope that you will find the discussions and other parts of the study – especially the art workshops! – interesting and fun. If you want to, you can enter a draw to win one of 3 possible $100 Amazon Gifts Cards as a ‘thank you’ for participating.

What if I don’t want to take part or I change my mind?

It is completely up to you whether you would like to take part and we have also made sure that your parents are happy for you to participate. You can also choose to not answer any of our questions without giving a reason. If you do decide to take part but change your mind later, you are free to withdraw at any time without giving a reason by contacting the research team. If you change your mind, all your contact details will be deleted immediately and all unprocessed data will be destroyed.

What do you want me to do?

We would like to invite you to take part in group discussions online over Zoom about: 

  1. What you think about the government’s advice in response to the COVID-19 pandemic; 
  2. How the pandemic is affecting your life and the lives of other young people, including your mental health and well-being as well as your eating habits and exercise;
  3. How teenagers might be supported to eat well and keep active during the pandemic;
  4. How you can use art to describe what is going on in your life and how the pandemic is impacting you.

Each online group discussion will take no more than 60 minutes. You will be invited to 4 discussion sessions, twice in the summer and twice during the school year (after September) but you do not have to take part in all of them. At each session a researcher will make sure that you are happy to take part in the discussion, and that you are happy for the discussion to be audio recorded.

These discussions will be led by trained researchers who have years of experience working with young people.

We will also ask you to keep a short diary of your daily activities and the foods that you are eating using a survey app on your phone after each of the 4 discussion sessions. You can take part in all of the surveys and discussions, or only some of them. This is completely up to you.

We are also offering a few art videos and workshops for you to watch and attend. You will be asked to watch a 2 minute introduction video from the artist, following by 2 x 15 minute art videos (about 6 weeks apart) describing Dada Collage and Zine making. Then, we ask that you attend a 45 minute art workshop (twice during the school year) that is facilitated by a member of the research team and a local Hamilton Artist. At these workshops you can ask the artist questions about how to do certain thing with your art, explore different methods of art making and/or share what you are working on. At the end of the study if you want to, you can submit your art “masterpiece” to be shown in an Art Gallery of Hamilton Virtual Youth Exhibition to share your art with your family and friends. You do not have to do this if you don’t want to.

Who is conducting the study?

The team working on this study includes scientists, a psychiatrist, and education director from McMaster University and the Art Gallery of Hamilton. The Canadian research team is working with a research team of psychologists and educators from the University of Southampton, England. This study (CanTec19) is one part of a 6-site global study (in England, India, Ethiopia, Ghana, South Africa) that wants to know how the pandemic is affecting adolescents all over the world.

Who has approved this study?

This study has been reviewed by the Hamilton Integrated Research Ethics Board and assigned a number #11283.

Who will know what I have said or what information I have provided?

The online zoom discussions will be audio-recorded. The things you say will be typed up and only seen by our study team. Your “assent” form will be stored digitally on a password protected and encrypted database. All your data (the audio discussions, the typed-up notes) will be stored separately on a secure computer. No one except the researchers will be able to link your name to what you’ve said in the discussions.  We might quote some of what you say when reporting the research but your name and the names of other people and places that you may mention will not be used in any write up of this study.  No one will be able to identify you in any report of this research.

What will happen to the results of the study?

The results will be presented at scientific conferences, published in scientific journals, used to inform public health decision makers on how to better support teenagers to stay healthy under such circumstances. The results may also be shared with school boards to inform back to school strategies. We will regularly put updates about the study findings, and (non-identifiable) things that participants and researchers share about the study or their experiences of the study on the study’s website and social media pages. A summary of the findings and full report can be made available on request.

What if I have questions?

If you have any questions, please e-mail Professor Dr Deborah Sloboda ( or Dr Luseadra McKerracher (