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Informed Consent


Changes in How You Look: A Survey on How People Feel When They Don’t Look Their Best


Thank you for taking the time to complete the questionnaires for this survey. The purpose of the study is to assess what kinds of things people do when they think their physical appearance has changed in a way or ways that cause them to think they don’t look their best. Have you ever been reluctant to let someone see you or go out because you have a zit on your face, a noticeable scar, recovering from a cold or illness, had been in a serious accident that affected your face or had a bad allergic reaction to something? Some people care and some people don't care what they look like or how sick they look. We will be  examining people's beliefs, attitudes, and feelings about what they would or would not do when they feel they are not looking attractive or their best. For example, if you feel you weren't looking your best whom would you let see you--your spouse/lover, your boss or co-workers or even strangers? If you hadn't seen someone for many years and had gained or even lost a lot of weight, how would you feel about seeing them again if they were visiting from out of town? If you felt you had aged and looked a lot older than you actually were, how would this affect where you would go and whom you would see? Among the many truths about life is that we can't always look the same. We get sick, we age and accidents happen to us either temporarily or permanently and thus can change how we look. Your participation will help us to better understand people’s attitudes, feelings and behaviors about the topic that can often occur in their everyday lives. Your participation involves completing four scales (and a demographic form): A scale on how people feel when they think they don’t look their best, two scales that measure body awareness, and a scale on religiosity.


Please remember that your participation in this study is completely voluntary. You may terminate your participation at any time without prejudice. The information you provide will be kept in strict confidence. Complete anonymity is also guaranteed because your name will NOT appear on any of the forms. Instead, a code number will be used to insure that your materials stay together for processing and analyses. Results from your responses will be combined with those from all other participants to provide overall/group results. Consequently, there will be no way to identify the responses of any individual participant. You are free to terminate your participation in this study at any time. There will be no direct benefits to you other than to help you think about and better understand the social-psychological importance you may attach to your physical appearance and how it may affect your attitudes, feelings, and behaviors towards your physical appearance as a function of becoming ill. In addition, it has the potential to better understand how mundane and even serious changes in your physical appearance is ultimately related to your overall well-being. There are no obvious risks to you other than having you think about how your will look when you suffer from an illness. Your continuation in completing this survey acknowledges your consent to participate in this project and that you are 18 years old or older. If your instructor is giving you research credit, the SONA system will inform your instructor of your completion of the survey and thus you will be granted research credit. If you are participating from a different university, other than Loyola, you will be able to provide us with your name, name of your university and the name of your instructor at the end of the survey where you will be linked (independently) to another site where you will be able to provide the required information for course credit. This information will be then routed to your instructor. Once this is done your name and information will be deleted at If you came to this survey via the Social Psychology Network you will not be able to obtain any course credit and thus you will not have to provide any information in regard to your name, university, or instructor's name.


In completing these materials, please observe the following steps: 1) Follow the directions given on each form. Respond as honestly as possible. Remember, there are no  RIGHT or WRONG answers. 2) In answering the questions, work quickly. Do not spend too much time thinking about your answers. Usually, your first reaction to the items is the best response. Answer the questions as best as you can. 3) Try to complete the forms at a time when you will not be disturbed or interrupted. The approximate amount of time needed to complete all forms is about 30 minutes.


If you have any questions or concerns about this study, please contact Dr. Martin Sherman at This study was approved by the Institutional Review Board at Loyola University Maryland. You may contact the IRB at 410-617-2004. IRB Log Number: HS-2017-42.

Please remember that all of your answers will be coded and anonymous, there will be no way to identify you or your answers. We only ask that you be completely truthful. We thank you in advance for your cooperation in this survey designed to better understand how you feel when you think you don't look your best.



Dr. Martin Sherman

Department of Psychology

Loyola University Maryland

222 B Beatty Hall

4501 North Charles Street

Baltimore, MD 21210

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