How do we study anxiety?

Anxiety Studies at the University of Waterloo’s Centre for Mental Health Research and Treatment studies anxiety by:

  • A research lab with chairs and a table
    Asking questions about anxiety in either an interview format or in questionnaires
  • Asking you to keep track of your anxiety for a few days in a diary
  • Asking you to do a task that temporarily raises your anxiety (e.g., a time pressure task, or a speech) while wearing non-invasive and safe sensors to measure your heart rate, sweat response, and other physiological indicators of anxious arousal
  • Asking you to do tasks that mimic everyday events (e.g., checking the stove in a kitchen) and asking about your experience during these tasks

How safe are these procedures?

Before you agree to participate in a study, the procedures involved will be explained to you and any risks will be described. You can decline participation in any study and you can discontinue participation at any point during a study. None of the research we do involves injections, biopsies, administration of drugs or other invasive procedures. Every study has been reviewed by, and received clearance through, the University of Waterloo Office of Research Ethics.

How do we protect your confidentiality?

We do ask you very personal questions and protecting your confidentiality is of central importance to us. Here are the ways we protect your confidentiality:

  • We do not share any information about you with anyone outside Anxiety Studies at the Centre for Mental Health Research and Treatment
  • Our research involves people with and without anxiety or mood problems; when you come to Anxiety Studies, your status will not be obvious to anyone
  • Your name is not linked to the data we collect for our research; you are instead identified by a four-digit identification code
  • The file linking your identification code to your name and contact information is stored in a password-protected data file on a secure computer to which only Drs. Purdon and Moscovitch and authorized researchers have access
  • Materials that contain your name, such as signed consent forms, are stored separately from written information you provide in an encrypted file database

Please be advised that, by law, we are required to break confidentiality if you reveal that you have immediate, obvious, and serious intent to hurt yourself or someone else.

What will I receive for participating?

We provide remuneration in appreciation of your time, usually in the form of cash or vouchers for a popular restaurant or attraction. You will be advised of the compensation for a study in advance of agreeing to participate.