Menopause, depression, and suicide: Sport participation as a potential protective factor
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Menopause, depression, and suicide: Sport participation as a potential protective factor


Human Research Ethics Approval Number: H20REA059 (v1)

This research project is being undertaken as part of large research program looking at the relationship between sport participation and suicide. The purpose of the project is to explore whether participation in sport can provide menopausal women with protection from depression and suicidal behaviours. To do this, the project will survey women aged 35-60 years old who currently do and do not participate in sport to explore the impact of sport participation on the mental health of women in this age range. This age range has been chosen to best capture pre-menopausal women (typically women who are 35-39 years of age), peri-menopausal women (typically women who are 40-52 years of age), and post-menopausal women (typically women who are 53 years of age and older). We need your help because you are a women aged 35-60. We request your assistance because you are either participating in sport (competitive and/or social) or are not participating in any form of sport or group based physical activity (e.g., you are not a member of a walking group). We are interested in how your mental health may be influenced by going through menopause and whether participation in sport may be psychologically beneficial for menopausal women. For most women menopause starts at around 40 years of age. Menopause is associated with irregular menses, fluctuating hormone levels, and a range of physical (e.g., hot flushes) and psychological symptoms (e.g., mood changes). This can last for a number of years and can be quite distressing with symptoms causing significant disruption to everyday living. Women aged 40-44 years of age are also the highest at risk group for death by suicide. Currently there is no research that has examined the sport-menopause suicidal behaviour relationship. This research seeks to address this gap. The findings of this study will be used as part of an Honours thesis as well as in academic publications such as journal articles, conference presentations, and book chapters.

To participate in this project you need to be a women aged between 35-60 years of age. It does not matter whether you participate in sport as both women who participate and do not participate in sport are needed for this project. You must also not be under the care of a health professional (e.g., doctor, counsellor, psychologist) for a diagnosis of depression and/or suicidal behaviours. You also need to have a good understanding of English as you will be required to fill out a number of online questionnaires. Your participation in this project will involve completion of an online questionnaire comprising of up to 129 questions that will take approximately 45-60 minutes of your time. You are able to complete the questionnaire at a time and location that is convenient to you and you are able to stop and start the questionnaire if you need to take a break from answering questions. Questions will include whether you do or do not participate in sport, and if you do, what type of sport. You will also be asked about your current menses status to help us identify your menopausal stage. Other questions will relate to your mental health and will include questions about whether you have or are experiencing suicidal thoughts and feelings, how socially connected you feel to other people, whether you experience any psychological pain, how optimistic you are, your sense of belongingness and burdensomeness, and your perceived level of depression, anxiety, and stress. Some other demographic questions will also be asked. Your decision to participate or not is entirely voluntary. If you do not wish to participate, you are not obliged to do so. If you decide to participate and later change your mind, you are free to withdraw your participation and any data that you have provided. If you do wish to withdraw your data from this project at any time, please contact the Research Team (contact details at the bottom of this form). Your decision whether you take part, do not take part, or to take part and then withdraw, will in no way impact your current or future relationship with the University of Southern Queensland or any organization you are associated with.

Expected Benefits
It is expected that this project may not directly benefit you. However, completion of the questionnaires may lead to raised awareness of your current mental health needs, for which you will be provided with the contact details of possible avenues of support. Because of the nature of the questions we are asking, if your scores on some of the questionnaires are high you will be contacted by the Principle Investigator who is a registered psychologist (registration number PSY000139897). She will provide you with information relating to appropriate support services. In this sense this study may benefit you in terms of identifying opportunities for you to engage in early intervention and prevention of emotional distress. It is hoped that the outcomes of this research will provide insight into the relationship between sport participation, depression and suicidal behaviours in menopausal women. These insights will be used to support the development of cost effective, targeted sport programs for menopausal women which aim to reduce rates of suicide and depression within this population.

Your participation in this project may negatively impact on your mood or wellbeing for a short period of time after completion of the questionnaires. These risks include:

  • feelings of inconvenience and boredom associated with the length of time required to undertake the questionnaire; and
  • becoming distressed as a result of some of the questions you are asked.

To minimise these risks, the questionnaires can be completed at your own pace and at a time and place that is convenient to you. You can come back to the questionnaires should you need a break from answering. In addition, if your responses to some of the questionnaires indicate high levels of distress, you will be contacted by phone by the Principle Investigator and offered possible avenues of support that are specific to your needs. The Principle Investigator will make contact with you again within 3 days of the initial phone call to check in with how you are feeling. In the unlikely event that you score within extreme levels on a combination of particular questionnaires indicating that you are at potential risk or harming yourself, the Principle Researcher will contact Emergency Services to request that a welfare check be carried out. She will also make contact with you at a later date to see how you are doing. Regardless of your responses you will receive a follow up email to check in with how you are feeling and reminding you of the support services that are available. Please note that whilst the Principal Investigator is a registered psychologist, they are unable to provide you with any psychological therapeutic support. If you are in need of this, please contact your local general practitioner and/or psychologist/counsellor. Alternatively you may wish to contact one of the USQ Psychology and Counselling Clinics for such assistance (Please see below for contact details). Sometimes thinking about the sorts of issues raised in the questionnaires can create some uncomfortable or distressing feelings. If you need to talk to someone about this immediately please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14, Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636, SANE Australia on 1800 187 263, the Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467 or Emergency Service on 000.

For additional support you may also wish to consider contacting the following organisations.

  • Beyond Blue chat
  • Beyond Blue online peer support forums
  • Lifeline crisis support chat
  • Lifeline text 047713 11 14
  • Suicide Call Back Service online counselling
  • SANE Australia online peer support forums
  • SANE Chat
  • SANE email
  • Australasian Menopause Society
  • USQ Psychology and Counselling Clinics
  • Toowoomba 07 4631 1763 email:
  • Ipswich 07 3812 6163 email:
  • You may also wish to consult with your local general practitioner and/or psychologist/counsellor

Privacy and Confidentiality
All comments and responses will be treated confidentially unless required by law. Any data collected as a part of this project will be stored securely as per University of Southern Queensland’s Research Data Management policy. If you are agreeable, all data that you have provided will be made available for future research purposes. Future research projects that use your data will be subject to ethics approval. Identifiable data will be confidentially managed as per the requirements of the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (Chapter 3.1) and external requests to access the dataset will be assessed by the Principle Investigator and distributed where appropriate. You may request that any data collected about you be withdrawn and destroyed at any time by contacting the Principle Investigator (contact details at the bottom of this form). You can participate in the project and not make your data available for future research. A summary of the results of the project may be requested by contacting the Principle Investigator by either email or phone (contact details at bottom of this form). The results may be requested in hardcopy (sent by post) or electronically (sent by email). You are required to provide your name and contact details to participate in this study. This is in the unlikely event that the Principle Investigator needs to contact you. Please be assured that this information will be treated confidentially and will only be passed on to Emergency Services if your scores on some of the questionnaires indicate that you may be at imminent risk of harming yourself. This information will also be stored as per University of Southern Queensland’s Research Data Management policy

Consent to Participate
To confirm your agreement to participate in this project, we ask that you complete the online consent form. To do this you must select ‘Yes’ that you agree to participate on the online consent form in order to begin the online questionnaire.

Questions or further information about the Project. Please refer to the Research Team Contact Details at the bottom of the form to have any questions answered or to request further information about this project.

Concerns or Complaints Regarding the Conduct of the Project
If you have any concerns or complaints about the ethical conduct of the project, you may contact the University of Southern Queensland Manager of Research Integrity and Ethics on +61 7 4631 1839 or email The Manager of Research Integrity and Ethics is not connected with the research project and can facilitate a resolution to your concern in an unbiased manner.

Principal Investigator Details
Professor Andrea Lamont-Mills
Telephone: +61 7 3812 6159
Mobile: + 61 409639148

Co-Investigator Details
Mr Steven Christensen
Telephone: +61 7 3812 6151

Ms Jacquelyn Batrachenko
Mobile: 0407741384

There are 130 questions in this survey.

Statement of Consent
By clicking the ACCEPT button you are indicating that you:
  • Have read and understood the information document regarding this project.
  • Have had any questions answered to your satisfaction.
  • Understand that if you have any additional questions you can contact the research team. 
  • Are aged between 35-60 years of age.
  • Understand you may be contacted by the Principle Investigator in the unlikely scenario that you score highly on some of the questionnaires.
  • Understand you may be contacted by Emergency Services in the unlikely scenario that you score in the extreme ranges on a combination of questionnaires indicating that you may be imminent risk of harming yourself.
  • Are not under the care of a health professional (e.g., doctor, counsellor, psychologist) for a diagnosis of depression and/or suicidal behaviours.

Understand that your data may be used for future research unless otherwise indicated below.

  • I do not wish for my data to be used in future research by not agreeing to participate.
  • Agree to participate in the project and include my details by accepting to participate.