International Parenting Study: Example of Document to Submit to Ethics Board
(To be modified to suit local conditions)
The concept of “discipline” by parents has no standard definition. For purposes of this research, we define it
as the methods used by parents to correct misbehavior by a child. Most of the research on discipline has been
done on corporal punishment . There has not been sufficient research on other forms of discipline aside from
corporal punishment, particularly cross-culturally. The present study will contribute to the research literature on
discipline (including corporal punishment), some other aspects of parenting, and family violence.
2. SPECIFIC AIMS
a. What is the prevalence of nine methods of discipline, including: Corporal Punishment, Deprivation of
Privileges, Diversion, Explain/Teach, Ignore Misbehavior, Monitoring, Penalty Tasks and Restorative
Behavior, Psychological Aggression, and Reward?
b. What is the relation of different discipline strategies on children’s adjustment, attitudes, and relationships
to their parents?
c. What factors influence the impact of different discipline strategies? Factors being investigated include
individual-level, family-level, and culture-level variables.
d. What differences exist between nations in the use of the nine discipline methods and the relation of those
methods to children’s adjustment?
3. RESEARCH PROTOCOL
a. Setting: Universities in approximately 30 countries will be involved in the International Parenting
Study. The participants will be undergraduate students.
Students will be recruited in their university classrooms. At the start of a class period, the objectives of
the study will be explained to the students (see Informed Consent section below), and their help in providing
information by answering a questionnaire will be requested. In most cases they will receive no
compensation; in some universities they may receive course credit for participation. Participants will be
asked not to sign their name or provide other identification. If they decide to answer the questionnaire,
instructions will tell them to put the questionnaire in a covered box near the exit door when they have
finished and leave. They will also be told that if they choose not to answer the questionnaire, to put the
blank questionnaire in the same covered box at the front of the room and leave, and that no one will know
whether they completed the study.
All participants will be told that participation is entirely voluntary, and that they are free to decide if they
want to answer the questionnaire or not. They will also be told that they can omit any question they choose, or
discontinue the questionnaire at any time.
b. Protocols: The questionnaire has three main components: discipline, outcomes, and related factors. See
attached list of instruments.
Discipline received at age 10 will be measured with the Dimensions of Discipline Inventory .
Outcomes include: Attitudes about discipline (DDI) and violence (PRP); impact of discipline (IoD);
competence at age 10 (CCS); attitudes about corporal and capital punishment (CCPA); legal socialization
(LC; WVSLS); current relationship with parents (PCC); well-being (WHO-5); quality of life (WHOQOL);
alcohol abuse (PRP); antisocial personality and criminal behavior (PRP); self-control (PRP); hostility (SCL);
depression (MDI); anxiety (SCL); locus of control (PMS); aggression (CTS) and dominance (PRP) between
Other factors that may be related to the link between discipline and outcomes include: Parenting at age
10 (DDI, PRP, PARQ, APQ, GPBS, PR, PCV); aggression and conflict at age 10 between parents and
between parent and child (CTS); violent socialization (PRP); limited disclosure (PRP); participants’
accuracy and honesty (DDIFU); neglect history (PRP); familism (FS); individualism/ collectivism
(ISRRSR); demographics (DDI).
In addition, each investigator outside of UNH has the option of adding questions of special interest or
relevance to their site. We will be adding the following measures: XXXX.
c. Consent: Only subjects who are 18 years old or older will studied.
Informed consent will be obtained verbally to avoid participants’ names appearing on any documents
and provide maximum confidentiality and anonymity. All subjects will be informed that participation is
entirely voluntary, and that they may omit any question or discontinue at any time. As explained in the
a9102d83-b083-45a8-9cc8-4103a187dc82.doc, Page 1, 8/31/2010
Research Procedure section, students who decide on the basis of the information provided that they do not
wish to participate simply turn in the blank questionnaire and leave the room.
The informed consent consists of a statement on the cover page of the questionnaire that says that the
purpose of the study is to find out about parenting they received when they were children. It will say that the
questionnaire includes questions asking about their family background, parenting received as a child,
relationships, personality, adjustment, and opinions. See attached informed consent document.
The quantitative data will be analyzed via regression and modeling techniques. Data will be aggregated and
no individual participants will be identified. Data will not be linked to identifiers. Depending on the question,
data will be analyzed at the individual level, site level, or nation level. Paper data will be mailed from each site
to UNH via registered mail for digitizing. Web data will be stored first through the survey website
(surveymonkey.com) with access only for Fauchier, then downloaded onto the FRL server with access only for
authorized investigators including Fauchier and Straus. Investigators from each site will have access a computer
file containing data from their site, free of identifying information. Investigators conducting cross-site and cross-
national analyses will receive computer files containing de-identified data specific to their analyses.
Because the data are anonymous, there is minimal risk of breach of confidentiality on the part of the
investigators. Participants will be instructed to sit as far from other participants as the space will allow to
increase confidentiality. This method has worked well with over 20,000 students in the International Dating
Violence Study . All participants will be informed that participation is strictly voluntary.
The potential risks of the study relate to completion of questions about sensitive topics including family
relationships, aggression among family members, history of criminal behavior, and psychological distress. In
similar studies conducted previously by the investigators, very few participants have expressed any distress
about answering such questions, and all expressions of distress were adequately addressed through debriefing
and provision of referrals. All participants will be provided with mental health and substance abuse referrals as
part of the debriefing form. Questions about illegal conduct do not fall under the category of reportable behavior
and would not result in criminal liability [change if necessary for your country]. To reduce the risks related to
disclosure of sensitive information and to reduce risks of distress to participants, we have omitted all questions
regarding sexual abuse history, sexual practices, and drug use.
Participants will benefit from learning about social science research. Participants will receive debriefing and
referral to services and will also have the opportunity to contact the investigator for further information. The
debriefing form to be used is attached. Participants may receive course credit for participation [if appropriate].
a9102d83-b083-45a8-9cc8-4103a187dc82.doc, Page 2, 8/31/2010
1. Bornstein, M.H., Handbook of Parenting 2nd ed. 2002, Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
2. Straus, M.A. and A. Fauchier, Manual for the Dimensions of Discipline Inventory (DDI). 2007, Family
Research Laboratory, University of New Hampshire http://pubpages.unh.edu/~mas2/: Durham, NH.
3. Fauchier, A., Task demands influence earliest age of "accurate" retrospective reports. Manuscript in
4. Straus, M.A., Validity of cross-national data based on convenience samples: The case of the
international dating violence study data. Manuscript in preparation, 2007.
a9102d83-b083-45a8-9cc8-4103a187dc82.doc, Page 3, 8/31/2010