Barriers People with Depression and Anxiety Experience When Using the Web

The Web has been an incredibly transformative tool but not everyone has equal access. Though much has been done to increase access to the Web for people with physical and sensory disabilities, very little attention has been given to people with mental disorders.

Help us work to ensure the Web’s benefits for you and others affected by mental disorders. Join others in your area to discuss the difficulties you experience when using the Web and ways the Web can be improved to better accommodate your needs. Continue reading below to learn more about the study and to get involved. Participants will be compensated.

Participant Information

Please read this information carefully before deciding whether to take part in this research. If you are happy to participate you will be asked to digitally sign a consent form.

ERGO Study ID number: 23771
Document name: PG v1.3, 21/10/2016

What is the research about?

This study is one of several studies that form the BETTER Project. The project investigates Web accessibility for people with mental disorders to ensure them adequate access to the Web.

This particular study aims to:

  • identify difficulties people with depression and anxiety experience when using the Web;
  • determine the most limiting and frequent difficulties
  • determine when the most limiting and frequent difficulties first emerged and how they change over time;
  • identify perceived causes of the most limiting and frequent difficulties encountered.

The study will use face-to-face interviews to achieve these aims. Findings are expected to inform future studies investigating Web accessibility for people with mental disorders and guide Web professionals when developing websites that are inclusive of people with mental disorders.

Why have I been chosen?

You meet the eligibility criteria for participants we would like to hear from to give insight into the issues at the centre of this research project.

Participants are:

  • aged above 18 years old
  • diagnosed with a mental health condition
  • without sensory or physical disabilities that require the use of adaptive or assistive technologies to operate a computer system.

What will happen to me if I take part?

The study involves completing a simple screening form and then if eligible, you would be interviewed on the topic of the difficulties you experience when using Web.

The screening process will be done online at your own convenience and takes less than 7 minutes to complete. We will collect information about your personal characteristics such as your age range, education, gender and occupation, and also ask questions about your Web skills and the way you have been feeling during the past two weeks or month.

Interviews will last for approximately 45 to 90 minutes with one 5-15 minute break, if needed. Interviews will take place at the University of the Southampton, Highfield campus and at a time agreed with you in advance.

Are there any benefits in my taking part?

You would be contributing to the field of Web accessibility where the Web can be further developed to better accommodate people affected by mental disorders.

Participants will also be compensated with a £10 shopping voucher for their participation in an interview.

Are there any risks involved?

There are no foreseeable risks involved. It is an interview study that simply seeks to understand your experience when using the Web and uses interviews to do so.

Will my participation be confidential?

Yes, every precaution will be taken to maintain confidentiality of the data. Collected data will be securely stored at university premises in lockable cabinets for a period of 3 years after which all non-identifiable documents (those without details of individual, i.e. names, signatures) will be transferred to a secure storage facility where they will be stored for further 7 years and then securely destroyed. Identifiable documents, such as consent forms, will be destroyed 3 years after end of the study.

All data collection sheets and questionnaires will be given a number and will not have your name on, so you could not be easily recognised from it.

The study will be compliant with the Data Protection policy of the School of Psychology, University of Southampton and the Data Protection Act (1998).

What happens if I change my mind?

Your participation is voluntary. You can withdraw at any time and for any reason.

What happens if something goes wrong?

If you have a concern or complaint you may contact: University Research and Governance Office, University of Southampton, Southampton, SO17 1BJ. Phone: +44 (0)23 8059 5058, email

What will happen to the results of this study?

The overall results of the study will be published in the PhD thesis, scientific publication that may be presented at relevant conferences. Individual results will not be presented or published. Precautions will be taken to maintain confidentiality of the data.

Where can I get more information?

If you have any further questions about the studies, please contact lead researcher, Renaldo Bernard via the following email address:

Thank you very much in advance for your time and help, it is much appreciated.

Proceed to screening