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Do I have to be in the study?

To join the study is voluntary. You may choose not to participate, or you may withdraw your consent to be in the study, for any reason, without it hurting you. You can be in the Independent Living Skills (ILS) class without being in the study.

Will you receive anything for being in this study?
You will be receiving up to $200 for taking part in this study. Any payment provided for participation in this study may be subject to applicable tax withholding obligations. This includes $30 for the baseline survey, $10 for each of the four sessions attended, $40 for the posttest survey and up to $90 for completing daily online diaries (i.e., $90 for completing 90% or more; $80 for completing 80% or more; $70 for completing 70% or more; $60 for completing 60% or more, $50 for completing 50% or more, and $2 per survey for less than 50% of surveys completed). You will receive payment by an e-gift card.

What is the purpose of this study?
The purpose of this research study is to evaluate whether the Good Gifts Program, that is delivered through the Independent Living Skills program at Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota (LSS-MN), helps to promote gratitude, generosity and hope in youth.

Why am I being asked to be in the study?

You are being asked to be in the study because you have expressed interest in joining an ILS group at LSS-MN.

Are there any reasons I should not be in this study?

You should not be in this study if you decide not to participate in the ILS group, are under 16 years old, are over 24 or are not fluent in English.

How many people will take part in this study?

Approximately 120 people at LSS-MN will take part in this study.

How long will your part in this study last?

If you participate in the study, you would complete a 20 minute survey a week before and after the four 90 minute Good Gifts Program sessions as well as a 1-2 minute survey daily for six-seven weeks. Across these activities, you would spend 10-12 hours total over 6-7 weeks.

What will happen if you take part in the study?

If you choose to be in the study, you would complete the following:

  • Attend a baseline 20-minute survey during an ILS class that is a week before the program begins. During this session, you will learn how to complete a 1-2 minute daily diary online for the next six-seven weeks. Surveys may be completed on your own smartphone, on a computer (at home or LSS-MN), or (in some cases) on a phone with wireless connectivity loaned to you by researchers (for the duration of the study).
  • Attend four weekly 90-minute sessions on gratitude, generosity and hope that include group discussion, activities, and outreach. You will be doing this anyway as part of the ILS group.
  • A week after the last session, you will complete your last daily diary and a final 20-minute online survey in an ILS class.

What types of questions will I be asked?

There are three sets of surveys for the Good Gifts Project. A pre-test survey, daily diary surveys, and post-test surveys.  None of these surveys ask youth to disclose illegal activities or talk about trauma. Instead, questions concern experiences of gratitude, generosity and hope as well as other features of daily lived experiences like mood, self-esteem, social connection, perceived health, prosocial behaviors, optimism, and spirituality.

What are the possible benefits from being in this study?

Research is designed to benefit society by gaining new knowledge. The benefits to you from being in this study may be an increased sense of well-being and connection to others.

What are the possible risks or discomforts involved from being in this study?

You may also experience emotional distress or embarrassment common to participating in group activities. Additional risks could occur if information you choose to disclose in the group is shared outside of the group. We take many steps to minimize these risks.. There may be uncommon or previously unknown risks. You should report any problems to the researcher.

What if we learn about new findings or information during the study?

You will be given any new information gained during the course of the study that might affect your willingness to continue your participation.

How will information about you be protected?

We use several procedures to protect your privacy and confidentiality.

  • All survey data are collected electronically on a secure server apart from any information that would identify you directly.
  • We do not ask about illegal behavior or experiences of violence or abuse.
  • We talk to group members about confidentiality and ILS caseworkers and researchers are held to strict confidentiality standards.
  • What you choose to share in the group is not recorded for researchers to see.
  • Your answers to surveys are never stored with information that would identify you directly. Instead, we use a numeric code to identify data for analysis and only researcher collaborators will have access to individually identifiable data that links your name with this numeric code.

Participants will not be identified in any report or publication about this study.  We may use de-identified data from this study in future research without additional consent.

Although every effort will be made to keep research records private, there may be times when federal or state law requires the disclosure of such records, including personal information.  This is very unlikely, but if disclosure is ever required, UNC-Chapel Hill will take steps allowable by law to protect the privacy of personal information.  In some cases, your information in this research study could be reviewed by representatives of the University, research sponsors, or government agencies (for example, the FDA) for purposes such as quality control or safety.
In addition, you must also agree not to reveal anything you learn from group discussions to protect the privacy of others in the group.

What if you want to stop before your part in the study is complete?

You can withdraw from this study at any time, without penalty.  The investigators also have the right to stop your participation at any time. This could be because you have had an unexpected reaction, or have failed to follow instructions, or because the entire study has been stopped.
If you withdraw or are withdrawn from this study all data collected up until the point of withdrawal will be retained, however no additional information will be collected unless you provide additional written permission for further data collection at the time of your withdrawal. Withdrawal from the research study will not interfere with any non-research-related ILS group participation or other services separate from the research study.

Will it cost you anything to be in this study?

It will not cost you anything to be in this study.

Who is sponsoring this study?

This research is funded by the Templeton Foundation.  This means that the research team is being paid by the sponsor for doing the study.  The researchers do not, however, have a direct financial interest with the sponsor or in the final results of the study.

What if you have questions about this study?

You have the right to ask, and have answered, any questions you may have about this research. If you have questions about the study (including payments), complaints, concerns, or if a research-related injury occurs, you should contact the researchers listed on the first page of this form.

What if you have questions about your rights as a research participant?

All research on human volunteers is reviewed by a committee that works to protect your rights and welfare.  If you have questions or concerns about your rights as a research subject, or if you would like to obtain information or offer input, you may contact the Institutional Review Board at 919-966-3113 or by email to