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Exploring the Impact of Parenting Style and Attachment on Self-Harm in UK and Sri Lankan Students

Exploring the Impact of Parenting Style and Attachment on Self-Harm in UK and Sri Lankan Students


Please read this information carefully before deciding to take part in this research.  It is up to you to decide whether or not to take part. If you are happy to participate you will be asked click on a box below to indicate consent.


What is the research about?

My name is Lasara Kariyawasam and, I am an MSc Foundations in Clinical Psychology student at the University of Southampton. This research is conducted as my master’s dissertation project. This study aims to explore whether university student’s perceived parenting style and attachment with their parents can impact on the likelihood of self-harms in both the UK and Sri Lanka. Following a short demographic question, you will be asked to complete three questionnaires that explore the quality of relationship with your parents, your perceived parenting styles of parents and self-harming that may be currently or previously engaged in. There are no right or wrong answers.

Why have I been asked to participate?

Any voluntary participant within the age range of 18-25 whose nationality is either British or Sri Lankan will be eligible to participate. You do not need to be self-harming to take part in this study.

What will happen to me if I take part?

Data will be gathered through an online survey. Once you click on the link to the survey, you will receive this information sheet and a page to provide your consent. Participation for this study is voluntary and you do not have to take part if you do not intend to. Once you click on a box that requires your consent you will be directed to a demographic page and the questionnaires. First, you will be asked to state your age, gender and nationality. Then you will be directed to the scales that will require you to state about your perceived parenting style of your parents (Parental Authority Questionnaire-PAQ), your perception on the attachment you have with your parents (Inventry of Peer and Parents Attachments- IPPA) and finally a small section requesting you to indicate whether you have previously or currently engaged in self-harm. The first two questionnaires will have multiple choices for you to answer from and there are no correct or incorrect answers. The final section on self-harm will require you to state whether you have ever self-harmed with three multiple choices (No, a couple of times, more than a couple of times) and whether you currently self –harm with two options (yes, no). The completion of all scales will take approximately 30 minutes and there will be no follow up or contacting participants a second time involved.

Are there any benefits in my taking part?

If you are a British student of the University of Southampton, you will be given four credits for your psychology course. In addition, irrespective of your nationality, you will also be eligible to enter a prize draw where two lucky participants will receive £25 each. The data received through your participation will also contribute to our understanding of self-harming behaviours and the relationship that it may have with parenting styles and attachments.

Are there any risks involved?

Although the questions do not intend to cause distress, some of you might feel distressed due to the sensitivity of the questions asked. If you experience any distress during the completion of the questionnaire or if you wish to learn about ‘self-help’ in relation to self-harm or any psychological distress, we have provided a self-help guide and links to support services along with a debriefing statement. As you complete the survey, you will also be directed to a short breathing exercise that will help you calm down.  

Will my participation be confidential?

Yes, the data will be kept in accordance with the Data Protection Act and the University policy and all information you provide us with will be assigned a numerical code and kept password encrypted. You are able to withdraw your participation at any time and withdraw your consent for us to use your information. Your name will not be used before, during or after the study; and even though we ask for some demographic information such as age, gender, and nationality, no personally identifiable information is requested at any point. Gathered information will be stored in a password protected computer where only the researcher and research supervisor will have access to.

What should I do if I want to take part?

You will be directed to an online survey where you are asked to tick a box giving your consent to take part in this study. If you have any queries or if there are any participants who are interested in taking part, please contact the researcher at: and, participants will be provided with access to take part in the study. You can also contact the research supervisor, Dr. Margo Ononaiye at:

What happens if I change my mind?

You may withdraw your participation at any time during the experiment with no penalty as your participation is strictly voluntary.  If you decide to withdraw any information you have provided it will not be used in the study. However, please note that fully anonymous data that you have provided in the anonymous questionnaires cannot be withdrawn after they have been submitted.

What will happen to the results of the research?

Results of the research will be submitted to the University of Southampton as part of the MSc dissertation. This study is also expected to be published in a peer reviewed journal. If you wish to receive a copy of the results, you can contact the researcher at

Gathered anonymous data will be stored for a minimum of 10 years abided by the University of Southampton policy and deleted completely from the database afterwards. 

Where can I get more information?

If you have any questions about the study please contact the researcher Lasara Kariyawasam at

What happens if something goes wrong?

In an unlikely case of concern or complaint, you can contact the Research Integrity and Governance Manager (023 8059 5058,

Thank you.