Info Statement

Following is some background info about the project and participating

You are invited to participate in the SMS4dadsSA research project which is being conducted by Associate Professor Richard Fletcher, Faculty of Health and Medicine at the University of Newcastle. This study is designed to test phone based support systems that sends information to fathers during their transition to parenthood. The study will also test an associated, phone based system which monitors a father’s stress and links those who need support to appropriate services.

Why is the research being done?

The purpose of this research is to test a system for sending informative text messages to expectant and new fathers. These messages will often include links to further information and are intended to provide information, motivation and practical advice on child development, parenting, family support, and family relationships. The study will also test an associated system for monitoring fathers’ psychological well-being and responding when they indicate that they are experiencing high levels of stress.

Who can participate in the research?

You can participate in this research if you are over 18 years of age and if your partner is at least 20 weeks pregnant. You must enrol before the baby is born. Only fathers who have a mobile phone capable of receiving and sending text messages can participate in the study.

What will I be asked to do?

If you agree to participate, you will be asked to:

     • Complete a consent form at the website provided on the final page

     • Provide some information about your child and you, expected date of birth, phone number and email address

     • Complete a brief survey about your current state of stress, and experience of becoming or being a father

     • Receive regular text messages, 14 per month (2 to 5 per week) over a period ranging to 44 weeks

     • Depending on when you enrol you will be invited to complete surveys during the third trimester of the pregnancy, approximately 6 weeks and 12 weeks after the birth and then at the end of the study. The surveys will ask about your experience of the messages and include questions about stress and anxiety, bonding with your baby, and coparenting. You will also be asked if you would agree to discuss similar issues in a telephone interview at these times. All of the surveys and interviews are voluntary and you will continue receiving messages until you text ‘STOP’ or you reach the end of the study.

     • If you agree, pass some information about the study onto your parenting partner asking her to participate in an associated study. You can still participate in the study without taking up this option

     • If your partner does decide to participate your data will be matched through a code provided on your partner’s consent form

What choice do I have?

Participation in this research is entirely your choice. Only those people who give their informed consent will be included in the project. Whether or not you decide to participate, your decision will not disadvantage you. Participants can withdraw from the project at any time by texting “Stop” to SMS4dadsSA.

Participants may withdraw for a variety of reasons, due to the messages or the timing or because there has been a change to the pregnancy or the birth (fathers can become isolated when this happens and it may be useful to keep the Rednose website address handy

Participants can withdraw without giving reason and all information provided by the participant for this research will be destroyed if they ask for this to be done. However, participants who withdraw will receive a final text asking why they withdrew. If withdrawing participants respond to this text the information provided will be stored in de-identified files, not linked to them in any way.

How much time would it take?

Questionnaires at the beginning and at different time periods of the study usually take about 10-20 minutes to complete. Reading and responding to text messages should take no more than a minute or two on each occasion.

What are the risks and benefits of participating?

We hope that participants will find benefit from the information that they receive through the text messages. Among the text messages that you will receive you will be offered an interactive Mood Checker to assess how you are managing the challenges of being a new father. Responding to the questions are voluntary. If your responses indicate serious distress you will receive a telephone call from a Health Professional experienced in supporting new fathers or from the Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia helpline. There is also a potential that the information in text messages or questionnaires could raise discussion about distressing issues, encourage distressing thoughts, or contribute to existing emotional or psychological issues.

If you do become distressed through participation in this study you are encouraged to seek support through Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia (PANDA), which is a national dedicated perinatal mental health service on 1 300 726 306 (Monday to Friday, 9am-7.30pm AEST, or Lifeline 13 11 14 (24 hours)

Are there circumstances when information may be shared?

All people have the right to support services before a situation reaches crisis point. They also have the right to privacy. Your personal information will not be disclosed to a third party except in accordance authorities which allow sharing information, such as Information Privacy Principles, or s93 of the Health Care Act 2008 (SA) and s106 of the Mental Health Act 2009 (SA)

How will my privacy be protected?

Any information collected by researchers which might identify you will be stored securely and only accessed by the researchers unless you consent otherwise, except as required by law. Data will be retained for at least 5 years at the University of Newcastle, unless you asked for it to be destroyed.

Your information will remain confidential except in the case of a legal requirement to pass on personal information to authorised third parties. This requirement is standard and applies to information collected both in research and non-research situations. Such requests to access information are rare; however we have an obligation to inform you of this possibility.

How will the information collected be used?

The study outcomes may be used to develop a better understanding of how to support fathers during the time before and after the arrival of a new baby. Study outcomes may also be published in journal articles or presented at conferences. Individual participants will not be identified in any reports arising from the project. A summary of the research results will be available to you upon request. You can either request this information on the attached survey or request this information by mailing or emailing Associate Professor Richard Fletcher.

What do I need to do to participate?

Click next page to complete the consent form and then you’re done!

Further information

If you would like further information please contact

Richard Fletcher on (02) 4921 6401.



This project has been approved by WCHN Human Research Ethics Committee Reference No. HREC/18/WCHN/20. and the University of Newcastle’s Human Research Ethics Committee, Reference No. H-2016-0055. Should you have concerns about your rights as a participant in this research, or you have a complaint about the manner in which the research is conducted, it may be given to the researcher, or, if an independent person is preferred, to the Executive Officer of the WCHN Human research Ethics Committee, Mr Luke Fraser, (08) 8161 6521 the University of Newcastle’s Human Research Ethics Committee, Callaghan, NSW, 2308, Australia, telephone (02) 49217894, or email