Title of Project: In pursuit of perfect: exploring TikTok usage and its relation to body surveillance, body shame, and subjective well-being.
The University of Worcester engages in a wide range of research that seeks to provide a greater understanding of the world around us, contribute to improved human health and well-being, and provide answers to social, economic, and environmental problems.
My name is Sofi Scaife, and I am an undergraduate student at the School of Psychology at the University of Worcester where I am based.
I like to invite you to take part in a research project which involves completing an anonymous online survey. Before you decide to take part, it is important for you to understand why the research is being carried out and what it will involve.
What is the purpose of the research?
This study aims to investigate the relationship between the use of the social media app TikTok and levels of body surveillance, body shame, and subjective well-being.
Why have I been invited to take part?
You have received this invitation because you have responded to an advertisement on the University of Worcester SONA system, or on another online system platform. You also do not meet the exclusion criteria: you do not have a history of eating disorder(s) or body dysmorphic disorder(s). You also meet the inclusion criteria: you actively use the TikTok app.
If you meet the exclusion criteria, it is advised that you do not take part.
If you do not meet the inclusion criteria, please do not take part.
We are hoping to recruit at least 40 participants for this study.
What will happen if I agree to take part?
If you agree to take part, you will be asked to complete an anonymous survey, completed online. This survey will contain questions about your usage and experiences with the TikTok app, questions about your recent well-being, and questions pertaining to how you feel about your body and physical appearance. All questions are optional, and you do not need to answer them if you do not wish to. It is predicted that this survey will take approximately 20 minutes to complete.
Do I have to take part?
No. It is up to you to decide whether or not you want to take part in this study. Deciding to take part will not impact your studies at the University.
If you do decide to take part, you will be asked at the start of the survey to agree to a number of statements to indicate that you are over 18 years old, have read and understood this information, and agree to take part in the survey. By submitting the survey, you are providing consent for the data you have given to be used in the study.
You can withdraw from the study by closing the browser page down without submitting your responses and your data will not be saved. Please note that once you have submitted your survey responses you will be able to withdraw your data by creating and making note of a unique code, made up of the first three letters of your surname, and the two digits for both the day of and month of your birthday.
If you want to withdraw your data after you have completed/returned the survey, please email us at the address given at the end of this information sheet quoting the unique code within 14 days from participation. Your results will then be deleted. Please ensure that you make a note of our email address to ensure you can withdraw your data. However, emailing this will give up your anonymity.
What are the benefits for me in taking part?
There are multiple benefits associated with taking part in the current study. One of these benefits relates to contributing to the knowledge held in regard to the possible relationship between TikTok usage and an individual’s level of subjective well-being, as well as their relationship with their body and appearance. As a result, there may be a better understanding of how engagement with the app can influence a person’s psychological state, and thus educate and guide how users use the app in the future. Students from the University of Worcester will be offered 2 SONA credits – this allocation of credits is based on the completion of study time frames, with one credit offered for completion of the TikTok-based questions and one credit offered for completion of the questions regarding subjective well-being, and those pertaining to evaluations of (and relationships with) the body and physical appearance.
Are there any risks for me if I take part?
By taking part in this research there is a risk that some participants may experience some psychological and/or emotional distress. This is due to the potentially sensitive nature of the questions being asked as you will be asked to reflect on your recent well-being, i.e., recent emotional experiences, as well as your relationship with your physical appearance, i.e., how much you value how you look.
Because of this, it is advised that those with a diagnosis or history of eating disorder(s) or body dysmorphic disorder(s) do not take part.
If you do feel any form of psychological, emotional, or physical stress, you have the right to withdraw from the study at any time, and up to 14 days after the final data collection.
You can also access support from the following support services:
(For the University of Worcester participants)
Firstpoint (Monday to Friday, 9 am-4 pm)
Telephone: 01905 542551
(For external participants)
Telephone: 116 123
The current study has been designed in order to avoid any face-to-face interaction and ensure the study is entirely Covid-19 friendly. As a result, there is no posed Covid-19 threat.
What will you do with my data?
The data you submit will be treated confidentially at all times. No personally identifiable information will be obtained during or as part of the study. Your answers will be completely anonymous.
The research is being carried out as part of an undergraduate project at the University of Worcester and the results will be presented in the form undergraduate dissertation which should be completed by no later than Friday 28th April 2023. We may submit all or part of this research for publication to academic and/or professional journals and present this research at conferences.
During the project, all data will be kept securely on a password-protected laptop and in a password-protected OneDrive folder in line with the University’s Policy for the Effective Management of Research Data and its Information Security Policy. The data will be accessible to me, and the dissertation supervisor, Gabriela Misca.
How long will you keep my data?
At the completion of the project, we will retain your data in the anonymised form that it was collected for 2 years. This anonymised data will be archived and shared in line with our Policy for the Effective Management of Research Data, or we will destroy all data relating to the project.
If you require more information or have any questions, please email:
SOFI-MARIA SCAIFE GABRIELA MISCA
Thank you for taking the time to read this information.