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Posted: September 4th, 2023

Human Research Ethics Advisory Panel C – Psychology

UNSW Human Research Ethics Advisory Panel C: Psychology

THE UNIVERSITY OF NEW SOUTH WALES
Human Research Ethics Advisory Panel (HREAP) C – APPLICATION FORM
IMPORTANT: In answering the following questions, please be guided by both the instructions accompanying each question and the NHMRC National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (2018). You may also use additional resources (e.g. Ethical guidelines, relevant published literature, legal standards, etc) and these must be appropriately referenced.
1. Project Title:

2. Project Description (500 words maximum): Please provide a description of the research. This description should include (1) a brief overview of the relevant literature; (2) a summary of the aims and general hypotheses; (3) a description of what will happen to the participants (i.e. a summary of the procedures).

3. Ethical Issues and Risks (1000 words maximum): Please provide a description of the ethical issues that are relevant to your research idea. You should identify all relevant ethical issues. For each ethical issue, clearly explain how you will address the ethical issue to ensure the research conducted is consistent with the ethical standards and guidelines outlined in the NHMRC ethical code. You must reference specific standards / guidelines from the NHMRC National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research to support your explanation. UNSW Human Research Ethics Advisory Panel C: Psychology

THE UNIVERSITY OF NEW SOUTH WALES
Human Research Ethics Advisory Panel (HREAP) C – APPLICATION FORM
IMPORTANT: In answering the following questions, please be guided by both the instructions accompanying each question and the NHMRC National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (2018). You may also use additional resources (e.g. Ethical guidelines, relevant published literature, legal standards, etc) and these must be appropriately referenced.
1. Project Title:

2. Project Description (500 words maximum): Please provide a description of the research. This description should include (1) a brief overview of the relevant literature; (2) a summary of the aims and general hypotheses; (3) a description of what will happen to the participants (i.e. a summary of the procedures).

3. Ethical Issues and Risks (1000 words maximum): Please provide a description of the ethical issues that are relevant to your research idea. You should identify all relevant ethical issues. For each ethical issue, clearly explain how you will address the ethical issue to ensure the research conducted is consistent with the ethical standards and guidelines outlined in the NHMRC ethical code. You must reference specific standards / guidelines from the NHMRC National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research to support your explanation.

Human Research Ethics Advisory Panel C – Psychology

Project Title: Exploring the Impact of Mindfulness Meditation on Stress Reduction and Well-being

Project Description (500 words maximum):

The proposed research aims to investigate the effects of mindfulness meditation on stress reduction and overall well-being among participants. Mindfulness meditation, an ancient practice with roots in Buddhist traditions, has gained significant attention in recent years for its potential benefits in promoting mental health and emotional well-being.

(1) Brief Overview of the Relevant Literature:
The relevant literature on mindfulness meditation reveals a growing body of research supporting its positive effects on stress reduction and overall well-being. Studies have shown that regular mindfulness meditation practices can lead to reduced stress levels, improved emotional regulation, enhanced cognitive functions, and increased feelings of well-being (Kabat-Zinn, 2016; Creswell et al., 2017). These findings have sparked interest in its potential applications in various clinical and non-clinical populations.

(2) Summary of Aims and General Hypotheses:
The primary aim of this research is to examine whether engaging in a structured mindfulness meditation program can significantly reduce perceived stress levels among participants. Additionally, we seek to explore the secondary hypothesis that practicing mindfulness meditation will enhance overall well-being, as measured by self-reported psychological and emotional indicators.

(3) Description of Participant Procedures:
Participants will be recruited through advertisements in university settings and community centers. Those who express interest in the study will undergo a screening process to ensure they meet the inclusion criteria, such as being over 18 years of age and having no previous experience with mindfulness meditation. Qualified participants will then be randomly assigned to either a mindfulness meditation group or a control group.

The mindfulness meditation group will receive a structured eight-week mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) program (Kabat-Zinn, 2013). The program will consist of weekly 2-hour sessions, where participants will be guided through various meditation practices and mindful activities. They will also receive audio recordings to facilitate daily home practice.

The control group will continue with their regular daily activities, without participating in any meditation or mindfulness-related interventions during the study period.

Throughout the research, participants’ stress levels and well-being will be assessed at multiple time points using validated self-report questionnaires. Ethical considerations will be strictly adhered to, and informed consent will be obtained from all participants before their involvement in the study.

Ethical Issues and Risks (1000 words maximum):
In conducting this research, several ethical issues are pertinent to address to ensure the well-being and rights of the participants.

(1) Informed Consent:
Obtaining informed consent is of paramount importance in human research. Participants will be provided with comprehensive information about the study, including its purpose, procedures, potential risks, and benefits. They will be given ample time to review the information and ask any questions before voluntarily signing the consent form. The informed consent process will be documented to ensure transparency and accountability.

(2) Confidentiality and Anonymity:
To protect participants’ privacy, all data collected will be kept confidential and stored securely. Participants will be assigned unique identification numbers, and their personal information will be dissociated from the research data to ensure anonymity. Only authorized researchers will have access to the identifiable information.

(3) Potential Psychological Risks:
Mindfulness meditation involves introspection and self-awareness, which may evoke emotional responses in some participants. As a precaution, experienced mindfulness meditation instructors will guide the sessions and be prepared to offer support if any participant experiences emotional distress. Participants will be informed about the availability of counseling services if they feel the need for further assistance.

(4) Beneficence and Non-maleficence:
The study design aims to minimize any potential harm to the participants. Participants in the control group will not be deprived of any essential treatment or intervention, and both groups will have access to any support they may need during the research period. Moreover, the potential benefits of mindfulness meditation, such as stress reduction and improved well-being, justify the ethical considerations involved.

(5) Compliance with NHMRC Ethical Guidelines:
This research will strictly adhere to the NHMRC National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (2018) to ensure compliance with all relevant ethical standards and guidelines. Specifically, the principles of respect for human research participants, beneficence, and justice will be upheld throughout the study.

In conclusion, this research project aims to explore the effects of mindfulness meditation on stress reduction and well-being. It will be conducted with meticulous attention to ethical considerations, as outlined in the NHMRC guidelines and other relevant scholarly literature, to ensure the safety and rights of the participants are upheld.

References:

Kabat-Zinn, J. (2013). Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness. Bantam Books.

Kabat-Zinn, J. (2016). Mindfulness-Based Interventions in Context: Past, Present, and Future. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 10(2), 144-156.

Creswell, J. D., Lindsay, E. K., Villalba, D. K., & Chin, B. (2017). Mindfulness Training and Stress Reactivity: Results from a Randomized Controlled Trial. Health Psychology, 36(5), 281-291.

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