FAQs for Parents

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What do I have to do?

If your child is under 18, we would like you to complete a short sociodemographic questionnaire which gives us some basic information about your child’s family background. This questionnaire may take about 20 minutes to complete. If your child is under 16, we need you to give your consent for him/her to take part in the study. If he/she is invited in for a research day, you will need to arrive with him/her in the morning so we can explain to you what your child will be doing and get your consent for him/her to participate. This may take about half an hour. Some clinics will need you to stay all day; other clinics are happy for you to leave if that is what you prefer. Please let us know what you would rather do so we can try to accommodate it.

Why are you asking the questions on the sociodemographic questionnaire?

Research has shown that people’s health and wellbeing can be influenced by their social and family background. There are no right or wrong answers for this questionnaire and anything you tell us will be treated in confidence. If there are any questions you would rather not answer, please tick the ‘Decline to state’ box.

Will I be able to see my child’s results?

There is no ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ for the questionnaires or the day assessments, so neither you nor your child will be given your child’s results. Some of the questionnaires deal with sensitive subjects such as substance abuse or depression. Everything your child tells us will be treated in confidence unless he/she reports anything which is putting him/her or other people in danger; we would then report this to the appropriate professionals.

If your child has given a genetic sample or a brain scan for the study, in the unlikely event that anything of concern is found, we will pass this information on to your child’s GP. We will ask for your and your child’s consent to do this.

Why can my child send his/her questionnaires back separately?

Some of the questions in the questionnaire pack are sensitive and we need your child to be able to answer honestly knowing that other family members will not see it. This is why we give him/her a second envelope in case he/she would like to post the questionnaires back separately from yours. Everything your child tells us will be treated in confidence unless he/she reports anything which is putting him/her or other people in danger; we would then report this to the appropriate professionals.

Consent must be given by a parent, guardian or legal carer – someone with a legal responsibility to look after your child. We cannot take consent from another relative (such as a child’s older sibling, aunt, uncle, grandparent, or your new partner) unless they are formally recognised as your child’s legal carer.

My child wants to participate and I don’t want him/her to; what happens now?

If your child is under 16, we need consent from both you and your child for him/her to participate. If your child is 16 or over, he/she does not need your consent to participate, but we would rather not have him/her participate against your wishes. In either case, please contact us to discuss any concerns you have so we can come to a final decision.

I am happy for my child to participate but my partner/spouse is not; what happens now?

While we only need one parent to give consent for your child to participate, we would rather not have him/her participate against the wishes of the other parent. Please contact us to discuss any concerns you or your partner have so we can come to a final decision.

What do I need to do on the research day?

If your child is under 16, you will need to arrive with him/her in the morning so we can explain to you what your child will be doing and get your consent for him/her to participate. This may take about half an hour. Some clinics will need you to stay all day; other clinics are happy for you to leave if that is what you prefer. Please let us know what you would rather do so we can try to accommodate it.

For other questions about making, attending or cancelling appointments, please see Appointment FAQs. For other questions about what your child might be doing on the day, please see Your Clinic Day FAQs.

Can my child be brought in by someone else?

If your child is under 16, we must get consent for him/her to participate on the day from a parent, guardian or legal carer – someone with a legal responsibility to look after your child. We cannot take consent from another relative (such as a child’s older sibling, aunt, uncle, grandparent, or your new partner) unless they are formally recognised as your child’s legal carer. If your child arrives for his/her appointment alone, or with someone who cannot give consent for him/her, he/she will not be able to participate.

Can I sit in on the assessment?

You will not be able to sit in on your child’s assessment as this would be a distraction and invalidate your child’s results. Feel free to bring something to do in the waiting area. If you need to stay all day, we will provide refreshments and lunch for you.

Two or more of my children want to volunteer; can they all come in on the same day?

We will certainly do our very best to accommodate this but it will depend on how many staff members and testing rooms we have available.

Will I get paid?

We will refund all reasonable travel expenses and provide lunch and refreshments for you if you need to stay in clinic all day. Unfortunately, we are not able to pay you for your time, but we will be very grateful!

What if either of us changes our mind about participating?

You are both free to withdraw your consent at any time without giving a reason. If either one of you withdraws consent, your child will not be asked to participate further. Please contact us to let us know you wish to withdraw, or you can simply complete and return a withdrawal form; click here for a Word version or for a PDF.

Please let us know whether you would still like your child to be considered for future studies, or whether you want to withdraw him/her from NSPN altogether. Please tell us if you want us to destroy your and your child’s personal data (e.g. name and contact details) and/or your research data (any anonymous data you have given us so far, such as questionnaire answers or genetic samples).

Is this a drug trial?

Absolutely not. We are researching how adolescent and young adult minds develop by themselves and no experimental trials are involved.

Are drug companies involved in this research?

No. The research is being carried out by University College London and the University of Cambridge. Our funding comes from the Wellcome Trust, a global charitable foundation dedicated to improving health, which is independent of both political and commercial interests.

Didn’t answer your question? Contact us!