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Driver Experiences in Ireland - Updated

The link between childhood trauma and trauma following Road Traffic Collisions

Please note that at this stage, this survey is for drivers in Ireland only. We would ask drivers from other countries not to complete the survey at this time. 

Plain Language Statement

Dear road user, 

You are invited to take part in a research study exploring how childhood trauma may be related to the trauma following road traffic collisions (but you do not have to have been in a collision in order to participate). Research suggests that adverse early childhood experiences may leave some people more vulnerable to experiencing trauma later in life, but more research is needed to fully understand this relationship. You do not need to have been involved in a collision to take part in the study. This document tells you about the study so you can make an informed decision as to whether, or not, you would like to participate. 


Who we are: 

Dr Kiran Sarma, Senior Lecturer, School of Psychology, NUI Galway, and student on the MSc in Integrative Psychotherapy, DCU. kiran.sarma@nuigalway.ie

Dr Rosaleen McElvaney, Assistant Professor, School of Nursing and Human Sciences, DCU, Rosaleen.mcelvaney@dcu.ie 


Purpose of the Study:

This study seeks to understand how road traffic collisions impact on road users. In particular the study examines how adverse childhood experiences might result in increased risk of suffering psychological trauma after collisions later in life. You do not have to have been involved in a road traffic collision to complete the questionnaire. The questionnaire can be completed by anyone who drives any form of motorized transport (car, bus, motorbike etc.).


What it Involves:

You are being asked to complete a questionnaire relating to a number of different areas of your life. First, we ask about your childhood, and adverse experiences you may have had. We also ask about your adult relationships and how you manage stress. If you were involved in a collision in the last 24 months, we will ask you about that collision and how you handled it. All information collected will be kept strictly confidential and will be held using unique anonymized identifiers. 


In addition, at the end of the survey we will ask you if you agree to being contacted again in 24 months, so that we can explore your experiences between today and then. If you do agree, you will be asked to provide a contact e-mail address. Then, in 24 months you will receive an email inviting you to participate in a follow-up questionnaire. You do not have to provide contact details – this is entirely up to you and you can decide at the end of the survey. 


Do I have to take part? 

It is up to you to decide whether or not to take part and you can withdraw from the study at any time up to the point when the analysis has been completed. 


What will happen to me if I take part? 

If you agree to participate you will be requested to give your consent on the next page, and then complete the on-line questionnaire. If you agree to be contacted in two years you will be asked at that time to complete an additional short questionnaire of your experiences as a road user between today and that date. 


How long will my part in the study last? 

Your participation is likely to last approximately 20 minutes today.  


What are the possible benefits in taking part? 

It may be helpful to you to reflect on your experiences as a road user in Ireland. By taking part in this study, you may not benefit directly. However, the information you provide may help enhance our understanding of how people respond to road traffic collisions.  


What are the possible disadvantages and risks of taking part? 

This study includes questionnaires on adverse childhood experiences, relationships and road traffic collisions. You may be affected by the questions asked. Some questions, for example, ask about experiences of physical and sexual abuse that you may have experienced while under the age of 18. Should you require further support, contact details for support services which you can contact directly are provided when you finish the questionnaire (or if you exit the questionnaire without finishing it). Also, should you feel that taking part would be too distressing for you, you may decide that it is not in your best interest to complete the questionnaire. Participation in this study is entirely voluntary and you are under no obligation to take part. 


What happens at the end of the study? 

Findings will be published in international journals and presented at conferences. When reporting on the study, you will not be identifiable as we will be reporting on trends within a population rather than looking at specific individuals. 


Data Protection

We recognize that the data we are asking you to provide is sensitive. If you provide your email address (for a follow up study), we will anonymise the data using unique codes for each participant and keep the link between each code and participant in a separate secure file. Only the researchers will have access to this data. When this research project is complete, data will be fully anonymised and may be used for further research purposes.  The data will be kept in a secure setting at all times. 


What happens if I change my mind during the study? 

You are entitled to change your mind about participating in this study at any time without disadvantage or penalty. 


Who do I contact for more information or if I have further concerns? 

If you have any concerns whatsoever, please do not hesitate to contact Dr Kiran Sarma at kiran.sarma@nuigalway.ie or Dr Rosaleen McElvaney at rosaleen.mcelvaney@dcu.ie.

You may also contact the Chairperson of the relevant Research Ethics Committees: 

DCU – The Chair, Research Ethics Committee, Dublin City University, email: rec@dcu.ie  

NUIG – The Chair, Research Ethics Committee, National University of Ireland, Galway, email: ethics@nuigalway.ie.