Welcome to the Work, Non-Work and Well-being Study Follow-up!
Thank you for your interest in the study! This is a long-term follow-up study being conducted by researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) with help in facilitation from the University of Chicago Survey Lab. Only people who completed a survey for this project at some point between 1997 and 2007 (UIC# 2019-0374) are being asked to participate in this follow-up. The prior project collected survey data over a period of 10 years and asked questions about work and life stressors, health and mental health, and use of alcohol and drugs.
Drs. Kathleen Rospenda and Judith Richman are now following up again to learn how stressful experiences such as workplace harassment and life stressors affect people’s health and well-being long-term, over a 25-year period. We also want to find out how current experiences, ways of thinking about stressors, and ways of coping with stress affect the impact of stressors on health and well-being, including alcohol and drug use. Finally, we want to know how well people can remember work experiences and health-related behaviors that occurred in the past. As a thank you for completing this survey, you will receive a $40 gift card!
Please see below for some frequently asked questions about this follow-up study. If you have other questions not answered here, or would like more information, you may contact us in the following ways:
- Via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 773-834-7411.
- If you would like to talk to the researchers who are conducting the study, please contact Dr. Kathy Rospenda at 312-413-4528 or email@example.com, or Dr. Judy Richman at 312-413-4527 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- For concerns about the study or questions about your rights as a research participant, please call the UIC Office for the Protection of Research Subjects (OPRS) at 312-996-1711 (local) or 1-866-789-6215 (toll-free), or email email@example.com.
Frequently Asked Questions
More Information About the Study
Q. Why did I receive an e-mail and / or postcard about the study?
A. You received an e-mail or postcard invitation for this study because you filled out a questionnaire for this study at some point between the years 1997 and 2007 (survey waves 1 through 8). We received additional funding to do this long-term follow-up survey of people who took part in the previous study, so we would like to invite you to complete the next follow-up questionnaire (wave 9). You will receive a $40 gift certificate for completing this questionnaire.
Q. What is the study about?
A. This study is about how stressful experiences in people’s lives both at work and outside of work affects their health and well-being over a 25 year period of time. It also includes some questions about alcohol and drug use. This follow-up questionnaire has many of the same questions that we asked in previous questionnaires to see how people’s experiences change over time, and what kinds of current stressors you are experiencing. We have also added more detailed questions about health and ways of thinking about and coping with stress. We also want to know how well people can remember work experiences and health-related behaviors that occurred in the past.
Q. How can I verify that this is a real study/find out more before I decide to participate?
A. If you’d like to know more about the study before you decide whether or not to participate, you can e-mail or call Dr. Kathleen Rospenda at firstname.lastname@example.org or 312-413-4528, or Dr. Judy Richman at email@example.com or 312-413-4527.
Q. How many questionnaires will I get from you?
A. This study is funded for five years, and during this time there will be a total of three questionnaires (including this one). You are now being invited to complete the first of these three follow-up questionnaires (wave 9). You may also choose to participate in an optional telephone interview, for which you would receive an additional gift certificate to thank you for your time. You may decline participation in any part of this research at any point.
Q. Who is paying for the research?
A. This study is funded by the National Institutes of Health, which is a federal agency.
Should I take this survey?
Q. What if I am retired, not working, or no longer at UIC? Should I still complete the questionnaire?
A. Yes, please! This study is for *all* people who took part in the prior survey, regardless of their current situation. We would still very much appreciate it if you completed the follow-up questionnaire. Your experiences and insights are very valuable to the success of this study.
Q. Why should I participate?
A. Only you can tell us how your experiences have changed over time – we want you to be represented! It’s also important that as many people as possible continue participating in the study, so our data is of high quality. The more completed questionnaires we receive, the better we will learn about what stressors are most harmful to people’s health over long periods of time, and what types of things may best help either reduce these stressors, or help people better cope with them so that their health is protected.
Q. How long will it take to complete the questionnaire?
A. This questionnaire will take you about 45-60 minutes to complete.
Q. Will I be paid to participate in this study?
A. You will receive a total of $40 for completing the wave 9 questionnaire. If you are completing the questionnaire online, you will receive a $40 gift card either by e-mail or mail. If you are completing a paper-and-pencil version of the questionnaire, you will receive a total payment of $40, in the form of a mailed $5 bill and a $35 gift card when you return the questionnaire. Gift cards will be issued within 2 weeks of when we receive your completed questionnaire. You will receive additional payments for completing the following other study components: Wave 10 questionnaire=$50; Wave 11 questionnaire=$50; telephone or in-person interview=$75. If you complete all parts of this follow-up study, you would receive a total of $215 in payments to thank you for your time.
Q. Are there risks to taking part in the study?
A. Potential risks of participation include discomfort or psychological distress answering questions some people consider to be sensitive (such as questions about stressors such as harassment, health status, or use of alcohol or drugs), potential breaches of privacy and/or confidentiality. These risks are small because we train project staff and use technical means to protect your data privacy. Also, you can skip or not respond to any questions that make you uncomfortable.
Our study team members are available to talk to you about your experiences or reactions to the study, and can provide information about where to go if you need help dealing with stress, depression, anxiety, or use of alcohol or drugs. There is also a very minor risk that disclosing illegal substance use may have legal implications if someone outside of the study was able to correctly identify you. This is very unlikely given the steps we have taken to protect confidentiality of the data. We describe more about how we keep your data private and confidential, below.
Q. How can I be sure that my answers will be kept private and confidential?
A. We are concerned about confidentiality and data privacy, too. Your answers to the survey questions will be matched with a number instead of your name. Any identifying information (such as e-mail address, phone number, or address) is kept in a separate file and will be destroyed 3 years after the end of the study. All reports, manuscripts, or presentations based on the findings will present data only in summary form – they will never identify individuals. If you are completing the survey online, online privacy can never be fully guaranteed, but we will protect your privacy and confidentiality to the extent that it is technologically possible.
The study is also covered by a Certificate of Confidentiality from the National Institutes of Health to help protect your privacy.
Q. What is a Certificate of Confidentiality?
The Certificate of Confidentiality, or CoC, is issued to the researchers by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The CoC protects the researchers on this study from being forced to tell people that are not connected with this study about your participation in the research, even under a court order.
However, we are obligated to report information about suspected or known abuse of a child, older person, or emergency situations involving potential harm to yourself or others. If any member of the research team is given such information, he or she may disclose this information to the appropriate authorities if doing so may prevent imminent or further harm to yourself or others. Also, because this research is sponsored by the NIH, staff from that and other Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) agencies or the University of Illinois Office for Protection of Research Subjects may review records that identify you, but only for audit or program evaluation. They too will protect your privacy. They can’t report anything that would harm the people who participate in this research. This Certificate, however, does not imply that DHHS approves or disapproves of this study.
Even when a CoC is in place, you should still actively protect your own privacy. If you voluntarily give your written consent for an insurer, employer, or lawyer to receive information about your participation in the research, then we may not use the CoC to withhold this information.
Addressing End of Survey Concerns
Q. Who is authorized to see my information?
A. The researchers and staff who work on this project may see your data, but remember that your answers will not be linked to your name or other identifying information in the data set. Also, because this research is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), staff from that and other Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) agencies or the University of Illinois Office for Protection of Research Subjects may review records that identify you, but only for audit or program evaluation. They too will protect your privacy. They can’t report anything that would harm the people who participate in this research.
Q. How will my answers be used?
A. The data from your questionnaire will be combined with the data from others participating in the study, and the overall results will be written up in journal articles, research reports, and presentations. The findings will be presented only in summary form – they will never identify individuals. The results will help the researchers suggest ways to make workplaces healthier, and suggest ways that people might best cope with different kinds of stressors in their lives to protect their long-term health.
Q. How can I get a summary of results from this study?
A. If you would like a summary of results from this study, please email Dr. Kathleen Rospenda at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave her a message at 312-413-4528 (if you would like a printed copy mailed to you, please include your postal mail address in the message). There is also a question on the web survey asking if you’d like to receive a summary of results, which you can respond “yes” to.
Q. What if I want to talk to someone about the stress I’m experiencing?
A. If you’d like to talk to the researchers about your experiences, or if you’d like a referral for help dealing with stressful experiences, please contact Dr. Kathleen Rospenda at email@example.com or 312-413-4528, or Dr. Judy Richman at firstname.lastname@example.org or 312-413-4527.
If you need immediate help with stress or with thoughts of self-harm, please call 1-800-273-TALK(8255) to reach the 24 hour National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can also contact this helpline via online chat at https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat/.
You can also reach a free, 24/7, confidential text message service for people in crisis. Text HOME to 741741 in the United States.