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Invitation to take part in an online research study on body image in adults aged 65 years or over

(14 Posts)
MEDIA: RonZ Mon 05-Nov-18 16:09:08

Hello, my name is Ronald Zammit and I am a final year Trainee Clinical Psychologist at the University of Southampton. As part of my doctoral thesis, I am investigating how different types of mind-focusing techniques impact on how people aged 65 years and over think and feel about their bodies. As such, I am looking to recruit men and women aged 65 years and over who wish to take part in this study.

If you are 65 years or over and decide to take part, you will be asked to complete a set of questionnaires at the start and at the end of the study, which will take approximately 45 minutes to an hour on each occasion to complete. You will also undertake a 5-minute writing task related to how you feel and think about your body and listen to brief (approx. 10 minutes long) audio-recordings of mind-focusing techniques on a daily basis over a period of two weeks.

The study will take place entirely online, so there will be no travelling involved. You will require a device (e.g. computer, smartphone, iPad) with Internet access, basic computer skills and a modern web browser. It is recommended to use the latest version of your browser of choice. The web browsers which are compatible with the online survey software used for this study are Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, and Apple Safari.

By taking part in this study, you will be helping us to understand more about this topic and improve the quality of life of people in your age group.

As a thank you for taking part, you can choose to opt into a prize draw at the end of the study with a chance to win one of four £50 shopping vouchers.

If you are interested in taking part, please click the link below to find out more about the study. This link will also allow you to proceed to the study, should you decide to do so:

Should you have any questions, or wish to discuss this with me further, please do not hesitate to contact me on 07584 784 987 or [email protected]

Any help or support you can offer would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you very much for taking the time to read this post, and I look forward to your participation.

M0nica Mon 05-Nov-18 22:06:00

Thinking about it but I am really not sure about the aims and validity of this research project and need more information before I make a decision

As I understand it the main, if not only purpose, of mind focusing techniques is to improve concentration not affect how we think so I cannot work out how these techniques can be used to affect our attitudes to any subject.

Nor can I see how undertaking this research will be helping us to understand more about this topic and improve the quality of life of people in your age group.

I can understand that the study could provide information on the topic. But improve the quality of life of people in our age group? How? I am sure that there are older people who are distressed by changes to their body as it ages, but I doubt the group is large and I am not sure how any information gathered in this survey will improve the quality of our lives.

As I said, I will need a lot more information on this project and how it hangs together before I commit myself to taking part.

PECS Mon 05-Nov-18 22:27:48

Well M0nica might not help people already in an older age group but it might help people in the future.

I agree that some more information could be helpful. The student has left contact details for those who want more information before participating.

Sometimes we might forget how much experience and expertise we pick up through our busy working life compared to when we were starting out as keen and eager students.

M0nica Tue 06-Nov-18 07:14:33

But it says that it will help people in our age group and I hoped by putting my queries on this thread, rather than directly, any reply will be posted on the thread, which may help other people thinking about taking part.

M0nica Tue 06-Nov-18 07:22:55

I might add that I have lived close enough to academia and commercial and other research for most of my adult life to know that many research topics are not well thought through, that data gathering methods, especially questionnaires, are poorly designed and the results are of doubtful reliability.

I am not suggesting this is true in this case, but we have had a lot of projects posted on GN over the years, that have been poorly designed or based on unsupportable assumptions and GN members generally point this out.

I would like to see more info, generally available before I make a decision. I would also hope that we will get a summary of the results posted on GN. I would prefer that to monetary and other incentives, which actually do not incentivise me.

M0nica Tue 06-Nov-18 17:25:06

I would also expect the researcher to be keeping an eye on this thread to see what our comments on his project are and answering the queries raised, or at least letting us know he has read the thread and will be coming back with the info in a day or two.

So far, zilch.

kittylester Tue 06-Nov-18 17:31:35

And, has he run it past HQ?

PECS Tue 06-Nov-18 18:14:35

He does not say it will improve anything! He suggests completing the survey "will be helping to improve" subtle difference.
I agree that research projects need to be purposeful and well designed I just feel how you challenge the premis could be equally well thought through.

Jalima1108 Tue 06-Nov-18 18:39:51

I am investigating how different types of mind-focusing techniques impact on how people aged 65 years and over think and feel about their bodies

RonZ Tue 06-Nov-18 21:09:28


I am sorry for the delay in replying to your messages, and thank you very much for raising all these important questions and comments.

I have decided to focus my thesis on this topic because, to my knowledge, no one has ever investigated the impact of psychological interventions on body image-related distress experienced by people aged 65 or over. There is also an emerging body of literature suggesting that body image-related issues may be very relevant for people in the 65+ age category. For these reasons, I thought that my thesis would help to shed more light on this topic, and extend the current research base by looking at how certain psychological practices may help to alleviate any body image-associated distress experienced by people in this age category.

With regards to the mind-focusing practices used in this study, although these would require a certain level of concentration to undertake and could potentially help to improve concentration, their primary aim is to offer an opportunity to people to learn how to manage their distress differently, including body image-associated distress. Given that the study has not been completed yet, I cannot say at this point whether these practices are definitely going to have any positive effects; however, I would be more than happy to share with you a summary of the findings once the study has been completed.

I would also like to assure you this study has been reviewed and approved by the University of Southampton’s Ethics Committee and developed under the close supervision of Dr Catherine Brignell (Director of Research) and Professor Lusia Stopa (Professor of Clinical Psychology). My research advert has been also passed by GN before being posted on here.

I can totally appreciate all the queries that you have raised, and I would be more than happy to reply to any further questions.

Thank you very much for your time.

Kind regards,


BradfordLass72 Tue 01-Jan-19 20:15:41

I have written two books about this subject and am still involved in 'size-acceptance' world-wide. I'm very interested indeed. Will contact you Ron.

holdingontometeeth Fri 04-Jan-19 11:38:46

Were the books published BradfordLass72 ?

M0nica Sat 05-Jan-19 11:19:33

Is 'size acceptance the same as body image? Part of body image, certainly but not all by a long way, especially in old age when our bodies are changing in so many ways.

RonZ Thu 14-Feb-19 12:50:55

Thanks to all those who have taken part in the study. Please note that the recruitment for this study is now closed.

Kind regards,