What is the purpose of this research project?

Parenthood changes a person’s life - physically, mentally, emotionally, and environmentally. Despite this, there is very little known about the effect of parenthood on human cognition. Therefore, in this project, we are seeking to understand the effects of parenthood on human cognition across the first two years of a child’s life. To do this, Monash University are recruiting parents with at least one child who is aged between 0 and 24 months, and individuals who do not have children.

Can you participate?

This study is looking for any adult in the community who meets the following criteria:

  • Aged over 18 years.
  • Has normal or corrected to normal vision.
  • Able to read and understand English.
  • Currently resides in Australia.
  • Has access to a computer to complete the survey.
  • Is not currently pregnant.

In addition, you are eligible to participate in this research because you are EITHER a parent with at least one child who is between 0-24 months (either biologically or non-biologically related) or a person without a child (and has never been pregnant).

What does the research involve?

If you decide to participate, you will be asked to complete a series of questionnaires and cognitive tasks online, at a time that is convenient to you. The questionnaires will ask about you, your mental health, and your experience as a parent (if applicable). For the cognitive tasks, you will be directed to Inquisit. You will be provided with instructions on screen to install the package to complete the tasks. The installation is simple, and you will be provided with directions to uninstall following the completion of this section.

The study must be completed on a computer and in total, it should take around 60 minutes to complete.

Note that during the study you may wish to take a break. If you wish to do so, you will be able to return to the study by simply closing the browser and returning to the survey using the same link (provided via email), on the same computer and the same internet browser (not incognito). You will have two weeks to complete the study.

What are the possible benefits?

There is no direct benefit to you, but you will be contributing to the understanding of the effects parenthood has on human cognition.

What are the possible risks?

Some questions in this study may be sensitive and distressing for some participants who have experienced a stillbirth, miscarriage, or any kind of birth or pregnancy related trauma. You can choose not to answer these questions, not to participate, or to discontinue your participation at any time with no disadvantage to you. Support for concerns related to miscarriage, stillbirth and newborn death can be obtained from SANDS (1300 072  637), Pregnancy, Birth and Baby (1800 882 436) and PANDA (1300 726 306).

Some questions in this study will ask you to disclose some information about your own mental health. You can choose not to answer these questions, not to participate, or to discontinue your participation at any time with no disadvantage to you. Support for concerns related to your wellbeing can be obtained from Beyond Blue (1300 224 636), Lifeline (13 11 14) or MensLine (1300 789 978).

All of the above support numbers will be available to you at the start of the study and within an email sent to you prior to participation in the study. If you feel uncomfortable or upset, please remember that you can stop the survey at any time.

Participation may cause you to become bored or tired. If you feel uncomfortable you can take a break and return to the study at a little later. If you find the study too frustrating, you can stop altogether.

Your personal information will be kept confidential as outlined below. Note that absolute confidentiality cannot be guaranteed, but every attempt will be made to ensure confidentiality.

What are some services to contact if you are adversely affected?

Here is a list of services and contact details who are not related to the researchers / research team who you may wish to contact if you are adversely affected by the study.

  • SANDS (1300 072 637): A volunteer-based organisation providing individualised miscarriage, stillbirth, and newborn death support
  • Pregnancy, Birth and Baby (1800 882 436): Provides support to parents on the journey from pregnancy, to baby and pre-school
  • PANDA (1300 726 306): Provides support for women, men and families across Australia affected by anxiety and depression during pregnancy and in the first year of parenthood.
  • Beyond Blue (1300 224 636): Provides information and support to help everyone in Australia achieve their best possible mental health
  • Lifeline (13 11 14): Provides crisis support and suicide prevention services for all Australians experiencing emotional distress
  • MensLine (1300 789 978): A telephone and online counselling service for men with emotional health and relationship concerns.

Do you have to take part?

No. Participation is completely voluntary. You do not have to take part in this project. Whilst Monash University would be pleased to have you participate, they respect your right to decline. There will be no consequences to you if you decide not to participate. Non-participation will not affect your ability to participate in future research or undertake study at Monash University.

Once you read through this explanatory statement, and continue through the survey, your consent will be implied once you commence the survey. If you decide to take part and later change your mind at any time prior to submitting your anonymous responses, you may do so without providing an explanation. Your data will not be used unless you complete the survey. However, it is not possible to withdraw your responses after you have completed the study. This is because all the response information is strictly confidential, and we cannot identify which responses are yours.


At the end of the study, you have to option to go in the draw to win 1 of 20 $50 Coles-Myer gift cards. To do you, you must enter your email address in the box provided.

Privacy and confidentiality

The survey is anonymous and no identifying information such as your name, email address or IP address will be stored with your survey responses. The data obtained in this study will be only accessible by the research team listed above and will not be passed on to third parties without your permission. In any publication or presentation that arises from this study, information will be provided in such a way that you cannot be identified.

While the survey is anonymous, at the end of the survey you can choose to state whether you are interested in being contacted for future research, and whether you would like to enter the draw to win a gift card. If you chose to do so, you will need to enter your email address. This information is collected and stored separately from the survey responses on a password-protected Excel spreadsheet, and will only be used for these purposes.

Storage and use of data

In accordance with Monash University regulations, if you decide to take part in this study, you will be assigned a number and all electronic files containing data from you will be labelled with this number, rather than your name or other information. In addition to Monash servers, some of your electronic research data will be temporarily stored with the online research platforms used in this study: Qualtrics and Inquisit. At the end of the study, your data will be downloaded and deleted from these platforms, then stored on a secure local network drive for a minimum of 7 years.

When no longer required, data will be deleted from all servers.

Will your data be used for other purposes?

Sometimes it is useful to use your data for purposes other than those specified in this statement. For example, researchers may think of a new question that your data may help them to address. In other circumstances, it may be beneficial to make some or all of your data available to the research community. At the end of the survey, you will be asked if you wish to make your de- identified responses available to the research community. If you wish to do so, you have the option to opt-in to make your de-identified data accessible on an open-source platform such as Zenodo (https://zenodo.org). This poses no additional risk for you.

Will you hear about the results of this project?

Monash University will publish the results of the research in academic journals and/or present it at relevant conferences. If you would like to be informed of the aggregate findings of this research project, please contact the researchers via email. It is important to know that results may not be known until well after your participation in the study is completed. Please contact the researcher if you would like to be informed of the results.

Who is funding the study?

The study is funded by an NHMRC Fellowship to Dr Sharna Jamadar APP1174164.

Where can you get more information?

For general enquiries about the study, or to obtain a summary of the results, please contact Yash and Chloe at parenthood.study@monash.edu.

For any problems concerning the project (e.g., side effects). please contact Sharna Jamadar at sharna.jamadar@monash.edu.

Who can you contact if you have any concerns about the project?

Should you have any concerns or complaints about the conduct of the project, you are welcome to contact the Executive Officer, Monash University Human Research Ethics Committee (MUHREC):

Executive Officer - Monash University Human Research Ethics Committee (MUHREC) Room 111, Building 3e
Research Office
Monash University VIC 3800
Tel: +61 3 9905 2052 Email: muhrec@monash.edu Fax: +61 3 9905 3831