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Participant information for study

Participant Information Sheet  

Study Title: Impact of COVID-19 on physical activity in adults with long term conditions living in the UK: a quantitative study

Principle Investigator – Professor Mari-Carmen Portillo (University of Southampton)


  • Dr Danielle Lambrick (University of Southampton) 
  • Dr James Faulkner (University of Winchester)
  • Dr Leire Ambrosio Gutierrez (University of Southampton) 
  • Associate Professor Beth Stuart (University of Southampton),
  • Professor Suzanne McDonough (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland)
  • Professor Melitta McNarry (Swansea University)
  • Dr Jacqui Morris (University of Dundee)
  • Dr James Steele (Solent University)
  • Mr Eric Compton (PPI Representative)
  • Ms Katherine Baker (University Hospital Southampton)
  • Mr Jack Shakespeare (UK Active)
  • Dr Matthew Wade (UK Active)

University email: or

What is the research about?

My name is Leire Ambrosio and I am a Research Fellow in Long term conditions at the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom.

I am inviting you to participate in a study regarding Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and physical activity in adults with long term conditions (LTCs) living in the UK. Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus. Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness, however, some people – particularly older people and those with underlying medical problems – are more likely to develop serious illness. 

People with LTCs have been told to use physical distancing, self-isolation and/or shielding during COVID-19 to protect themselves and others. Government guidance on physical activity may or may not have explained to people how to be physically active and take part in exercise during COVID-19. Physical activity has a positive effect on physical and mental health, so understanding the impact of COVID-19 on physical activity behaviours (amount, type and intensity of physical activity) of UK population with LTCs is important. 

In this sense, the aim of the study is to assess the impact of COVID-19 and the government-imposed restrictions on physical activity behaviour and mental health of people with LTCs.

This study was approved by the Faculty Research Ethics Committee (FREC) at the University of Southampton (Ethics/ERGO Number: 63225).

What will happen to me if I take part?

This study involves completing an anonymous questionnaire which should take approximately 20 minutes of your time. You should complete the whole survey at one sitting as the answers will not be saved until you ‘submit’ at the end. If you are happy to complete this survey, you will need to select the appropriate box on the consent form (Q1 of the survey) in order to progress onto the survey questions. As this survey is anonymous, the research team will not be able to know which answers you provided specifically.

You will be able to withdraw at any point before submitting the online survey (i.e., first page of survey or last question of the survey). Once you have submitted the online survey, you will not be able to withdraw from the study as your submitted data will be anonymous so it will not be possible for the research team to identify your completed form. 

Why have I been asked to participate?

You have been asked to take part because we are interested in the views and experiences of English-speaking adults (≥18y), who are resident in the UK (England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland), and are living with one or more LTCs.

What information will be collected?

The questions in this survey ask for information in relation to physical activity and mental health of adults with LTCs living in the UK during the coronavirus pandemic. Through the online survey, we would like to have a better understanding of the impact of COVID-19 and government restrictions on physical activity and mental health of adults with LTCs living in the UK in order to propose recommendations to support people to improve and/or sustain their physical activity during and after coronavirus or other pandemics.

With this purpose, an online and anonymous survey will assess the impact of COVID-19 on physical activity behaviours and mental health in adults with LTCs living in the UK (England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland). Sociodemographic information, such as age, gender, level of education, if you are working or not, etc., will be collected. You will also be asked questions related to any LTCs. Finally, you will be asked to complete five specific questionnaires (IPAQ-SF, SF-12, WHO-5, PHQ-9 and GAD-7) which aim to find out information about any type, intensity and duration of your physical activity and/or exercise behaviour (IPAQ-SF), quality of life (SF-12), well-being (WHO-5), depression (PHQ-9) and anxiety (GAD-7) that you may be feeling during COVID-19. Some survey questions must be completed in order to progress through the survey, and it will take approximately 20 minutes to complete fully.

At the end of the survey, you will be asked if you would like to participate in a follow-up interview to discuss your views and experiences in more depth. You will need to answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’, and depending on your answer, you will either finish participating (if you answer ‘no’) or will be requested to provide a contact email address in order that the research team may contact you to arrange your participation in an interview (if you answer ‘yes’). 

The information that you provide will be treated confidentially and will be anonymised. An ‘individual code’ will be given to you. This code will replace any identifiable information so that the results of the survey will not be directly linked to you. Thus, no information will be included in any published material that will allow identification to any specific individual.

Some of the survey questions contain text-boxes where you will be asked to type in your own answers. Please note that in order for this survey to be anonymous, you should not include in your answers any information from which you, or other people, could be identified.

What are the possible benefits of taking part?  

If you decide to take part in this study, you will not receive any direct benefits; however, your participation will contribute to knowledge in this area of research and may inform future support packages for people living with LTCs during any further periods of Pandemic restriction.

Are there any risks involved?

It is expected that taking part in this study will not cause you any psychological discomfort and/or distress, however, should you feel uncomfortable you can leave the survey at any time or contact the following resources for support. Besides, if you are living with a mental health difficulty, such as depression and/or other mental health issue, and you feel uncomfortable you can leave the survey at any time before submitting the survey or contact the following resources for support: 

If you have a concern about any aspect of this study, you may wish to contact Dr Leire Ambrosio, by email ( in the first instance.

Following this, if you have any issues or complaints, you may wish to contact the principal investigator of the study, Professor Mari Carmen Portillo, by email ( Mari Carmen is a Professor in Long-Term Conditions at the University of Southampton.

The Samaritans group phone number (116 123) will be offered in case you need to talk to someone after answering survey questions.

If you remain unhappy or have a complaint about any aspect of this study, please contact the University of Southampton Research Integrity and Governance Manager (023 8059 5058,

What will happen to the information collected?

All information collected for this study will be stored securely on a password protected computer and backed up on a secure server. In addition, all data will be pooled and only compiled into data summaries or summary reports. Only the research team will have access to this information.

The information collected will be analysed and written up for publication in a peer-reviewed, international scientific journal and/or presented at conferences.

The University of Southampton conducts research to the highest standards of ethics and research integrity. In accordance with our Research Data Management Policy, data will be held for 10 years after the study has finished when it will be securely destroyed.

What happens if there is a problem?

If you are unhappy about any aspect of this study and  would like to make a formal complaint, you can contact the Head of Research Integrity and Governance, University of Southampton, on the following contact details: Email:, phone: + 44 2380 595058.

Please quote the Ethics/ERGO number above. Please note that by making a complaint you might be no longer anonymous

More information on your rights as a study participant is available via this link:

Thank you for reading this information sheet and considering taking part in this research.

You can download this information and a PDF here