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Information Sheet

Exploring Couples’ Shared Experiences of Multiple Sclerosis


What is the project about?

This research aims to explore couples shared experiences of Multiple Sclerosis. We hope this research will help us to understand what helps couples with MS to cope.  


What will I have to do?

You and your partner will be asked to take part in a joint interview using online video platform, Microsoft Teams. We expect this interview will take about 60 minutes. We would hope to have a discussion about your experiences of MS together and how you cope. For example, some interview questions will ask about how MS has made your relationship more tricky or challenging; how MS has strengthened your relationship; the effect of MS on intimacy; how you see life in the future. We will then invite you to complete a short individual interview for about 10 minutes, to provide any further comment.


What are the benefits?

You will be offered a 15euro/pound One4All voucher for the time taken to participate in this interview. To date, there is a lack of research looking at couples’ experiences of MS. We hope this study will help researchers to understand how to better support couples where one person has a diagnosis of MS.


What are the risks?

We will ask you questions about your experience of MS and how you have learned to cope. While discussion of coping with MS may be challenging for some people, we aim to focus on health and wellbeing in this study so we do not expect that these questions will be distressing.


What if I do not want to take part?

You do not have to participate if you do not wish to. You can also stop taking part in the research study at any time during the interview.

What happens to the information?

The information gathered from the study will be handled in complete confidence. Your results and confidentiality are the first priority of the researchers carrying out the study. The interviews will be audio-recorded, with all recordings stored safely and confidentially on a secure, password-protected device. Only researchers in the study will have access to the recordings. Two weeks after your interview, the audio recordings will be transcribed, and any information that may identify you will be removed. After the recordings have been transcribed, the recordings will be deleted. All information will be maintained in accordance with the University of Limerick’s data protection procedures.


Who else is taking part?

We expect to have 15 couples take part in this study.


What happens at the end of the study?

At the end of the study, the results will be submitted for publication as part of a doctoral thesis in clinical psychology, at the University of Limerick. All subject information and anonymised data will be held by the principal investigator (Professor Donal Fortune) for up to 7 years at the University of Limerick, after which time it will be destroyed.


What if I have more questions or do not understand something.

If you do not understand any aspect of the research, please contact the project investigator, Ms. Serena Carberry at to discuss any questions that you might have. It is important that you feel completely at ease during the research.


Thank you for taking the time to read this information sheet.


Project Investigator Contact Details

Serena Carberry, Psychologist in Clinical Training

Dept. of Psychology, University of Limerick


Phone: +353861958222

Principal Investigator

Prof. Donal Fortune, Dept. of Psychology, University of Limerick



This research study has received Ethics approval from the Education and Health Sciences Research Ethics Committee (EHSREC No: 2022_05_08_EHS)

If you have any concerns about this study and wish to contact someone independent you may contact:

Chair Education and Health Sciences Research Ethics Committee

EHS Faculty Office

University of Limerick

Tel (061) 234101

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