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Participant Information Sheet

An investigation into the role of self-compassion, coping strategies and well-being in fibromyalgia.

You are invited to take part in a research project that is looking at the relationship between self-compassion, coping strategies and well-being within fibromyalgia. The research is being conducted by Dr Gemma Evans from the University of Chester.


Introduction  Self-compassion is often thought of as acting kindly towards ourselves. This study aims to explore whether self-compassion plays a role in coping strategies and emotional well-being within fibromyalgia. This is important because it may help us to understand the role of certain psychological therapies within helping to support the emotional well-being of people who experience physical health conditions, like fibromyalgia.

What will I be asked to do if I take part? If you agree to take part you will be asked to complete a series of questionnaires. These will be online.

You will be asked some demographic information about your gender, age, ethnicity and about the duration of your fibromyalgia symptoms, but no personally identifiable information will be required and we will not ask for your name.

You will then be asked to complete some questionnaires that ask about self-compassion, pain acceptance, fibromyalgia symptoms, emotional well-being and coping strategies.

Please note that these questionnaires are not used as diagnostic tools and as the study is anonymous, it will not be possible to provide feedback on your score.

It is likely that the questionnaires will take around 20 minutes to complete. Unfortunately you are not able to save your answers and return to the questionnaires later on.


Why have I been asked to take part? The only requirement of the study is that you are over 18 years old and identify as having a fibromyalgia diagnosis. This can be a diagnosis made by a professional or you may be self-diagnosed.  You have been asked to take part because we think that you may meet this criteria. We are recruiting for this study via social media, particularly support groups for people experiencing fibromyalgia symptoms.


How do I take part? Please read this information sheet and if you decide to take part simply continue and begin to answer the questions.  We will take this as a sign that you are consenting to participate and agree that you are over 18 years old.

Taking part is voluntary. If you have further questions the researcher is happy to answer these. You do not need to decide about participation straight away if you feel that you need further time to consider this.

You do not need to answer every question presented, and there is a ‘prefer not to answer option’ for each question.


What are the possible benefits or risks to you of taking part? Some of the questionnaires do ask you about symptoms related to fibromyalgia (e.g. “please rate your level of pain, please rate your level of memory problems”). Some of the questions also ask about your views of being kind to yourself (e.g. “When I see aspects of myself that I don't like, I get down on myself”). Some questions ask about acceptance of pain (e.g. “I lead a full life even though I have chronic pain”) and about beneficial and potentially harmful coping strategies that you may use (e.g. “I’ve been criticizing myself”). Whilst we have tried to select questionnaires that are not distressing, for some people answering questions about their symptoms or how they feel may lead to upsetting thoughts or memories. If for any reason you feel that answering questions about your emotional well-being or fibromyalgia symptoms may be distressing, then we would strongly advise you to carefully consider whether you feel that there may be risks for you of taking part, and if so, you may wish to decline. You do not need to tell the researcher your reasons for declining to take part.

If you do wish to withdraw at any point after you have begun then simply stop answering the questions and close the survey. The researcher will take this as a sign that you wish to withdraw and will not include your data in the final project. You do not need to explain to the researcher why you have chosen to withdraw. As the questionnaires are anonymous, it is not possible to withdraw your data once you have completed the questionnaires. We are unable to offer payment for your participation.

If for any reason you feel that you may need further support around your emotional well-being or fibromyalgia symptoms, we would advise you to consider seeking advice from your GP. In an emergency you should seek urgent support from A&E. You may also wish to consider contacting a source of talking support, such as the Samaritans. The Samaritans can be contacted for free at any time on 116 123.


How will my answers to the questionnaires be used? Completed questionnaires will be stored on password-protected computers. No identifiable information is required in the questionnaires, so your data is anonymous. The anonymous data may be used in future publications or other forms of dissemination that arise from the work.


Thank you for reading this information sheet. If you wish to take part then please continue and answer the questions.


The Department of Psychology Research Ethics Committee have reviewed and approved this study. DOPECGE190517


Dr Gemma Evans