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Welcome to Friendship Experiences Research

Dear prospective participant,

I am a graduate student in the Ph. D. program in clinical psychology at the California School of Professional Psychology, Alliant International University, in San Francisco. As part of my graduate program, I am conducting a research study to explore the college students' friendship experiences with their closest or best same-sex friends. The research concerns the ways best same-sex friends talk about or work through the problems one or both of them have. In addition, the research concerns thoughts people have and behaviors they engage in on their own when facing personal problems. It also concerns how psychological well-being relates to dealing with problems either individually or together with the closest or best same-sex friend. Participants need to be at least 18 years old, and be undergraduate college students attending either community college or a 4-year college/university. In addition, participants need to have a best same-sex friend with whom they have been best friends for at least six months. This friend has to be someone you talk to/communicate with regularly or talked to/communicated with regularly in the past, and he or she cannot be your current or past sexual partner. Participation in this study should take between one hour and one hour and a half.

Participation involves completing eight questionnaires. The first questionnaire asks for background information about you and your best same-sex friend, and also about your friendship. Two questionnaires ask you how you and your best same-sex friend talk about problems that either or both of you have. The fourth questionnaire asks you to describe your thoughts and behavior when you feel down, sad, or depressed. Next, three brief questionnaires ask about thoughts and experiences over the past two weeks or over the past week. The last questionnaire includes questions regarding your relationship with your best same-sex friend, and three questions to describe your friendship in your own words.

It is important that you answer the questionnaires as honestly as possible in a way that describes you and your friendship most accurately. Please complete questionnaires alone in a location that is quiet and free from distractions and interruptions. You may take breaks as needed, just do not log off during that time. Please be aware that is not possible to leave the survey and return, so I hope you will allow sufficient time to answer all of the questions.

Your participation in this study may contribute to our understanding of friendships and of how people deal with their personal problems. It may help you think about your own relationship with your best same-sex friend, and about how you talk about problems. It may also help you to get a better understanding of what you do or think when you feel sad or depressed, and of how you have been feeling over the past two weeks. In addition, you may be eligible to receive extra credit for a class upon your professor's approval. Participants who are currently enrolled in the class may be eligible for an extra credit if it is stated in your syllabus or by the professor that participation in psychology research can be one way of receiving extra credit. The professor will determine how much extra credit will be given and it will be either in the syllabus or communicated by the professor. Verification of participation in this research will be this page and another page in the end of the survey that you will be asked to print. It will be your responsibility to print these pages and to submit them to the professor because no contact will be made between me and the professor. You can ask your professor if participation in this research and offered verification will be eligible for obtaining extra credit by providing a printed copy of this page. Thus, if participation in this research or offered verification is not eligible for obtaining extra credit, participants will not be able to obtain it. Moreover, after completing the questionnaires you may enter a raffle to win one of three $100 VISA gift cards.

Your responses to the questionnaires are confidential. Your name is not requested on any of the forms that you will be completing, and your responses will only be seen by me and by my research supervisor. The only exception is that, in my research report, I may quote respondents' answers to open-ended questions about their friendship experiences. If I use such quotations, I will not provide any information that could be used to identify the respondent. All responses to questionnaires will remain in a locked file cabinet or on secure computer files and will be shredded/deleted after completion of the research. If you wish to be entered in the raffle for a $100 Visa giftcard, you will need to send an e-mail to me with the subject line "enter me in the raffle." Your e-mail address will be stored in such a way that it cannot be linked to your questionnaire responses.

The questions in this study may approach issues that are sensitive to you, and there is a very slight possibility that participating may cause you some distress. On the other hand, most of the questionnaires have been used in many research projects with no ill effects. Your participation in this study is completely voluntary, and you are free to withdraw from participating in this study at any time. Additionally, participants who experience distress as a result of their participation can contact me for referral for a one time free telephone consultation with a licensed psychologist.

Although I cannot provide you with individual feedback, you may send me an e-mail with the subject line "please send me a summary of results" so that I can send you a summary of the results after this research is complete (probably at least a year from now).

Please print this page and keep it for your records.

If you agree to participate, click "next."

By responding to the following questionnaires you are implying consent to participate in this study.

After you have finished all of the questionnaires please click "submit" to end your participation.

Thank you,
Yuliana Khmarskaya
CollegeFriendshipStudy@gmail.com

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This study has been approved by the Institutional Review Board at Alliant International University, San Francisco. For questions about ethical standards of this study, or to bring a complaint, please contact irb-sf@alliant.edu.