University of Exeter is seeking volunteers aged 14 to 21 years old

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The Clinical Psychology team at the University of Exeter is asking for young people (aged 14 to 21-years-old) who have been adopted to take part in their research project. They are looking for feedback from teenagers and would also like to hear about the experiences of their parents.

Please get in touch if you would like to know more about how you could help design a support programme to help teenagers to develop problem solving, planning and organising skills!

“My name is Dale, and I am currently completing my Doctorate in Clinical Psychology at the University of Exeter. I am conducting a research study that aims to get feedback from young people (aged 14 to 21 years) who have been adopted and their parents, on what should be included in a new intervention. The intervention is designed to help young people who have been adopted and may find it difficult in some of the following areas; starting or completing tasks, planning for the future, solving problems, making sense of information, managing their emotions or behaviour.

“The study involves taking part in a short online programme of support (3 one-hour sessions, delivered weekly) and an online interview that would last approximately 1 hour, and you will receive a £25 Amazon voucher as a thank you for your time. If you and your child are interested in taking part, please read through the information sheets attached for some more information about the study.”

Below is a link to a short form to complete if you are interested in taking part:

If you have any questions at all, please do not hesitate to contact Dale Abbotts, Trainee Clinical Psychologist

Cartoon graphic of a diverse group of teenagers

Further information

Parent/guardian participant information about the study:
Adapting an executive functioning intervention for adolescents who have been adopted

Dear Parent/Guardian

We would like to invite you to take part in a research to help us design a new intervention to support executive functions in adolescent who have been adopted. Before you decide if to take part, it is important for you to understand why the research is being done and what it will involve. Please take time to read the following information carefully and discuss it with others if you wish. Please do not hesitate to contact us if there is anything that is not clear or if you would like more information (contact details can be found at the bottom of this web page). Thank you for reading this.

Purpose of the research?

Children who have experienced difficulties in their early lives can experience long-standing problems with planning, organising, and problem-solving (known as executive function). This can cause further difficulties with learning, academic achievement, behaviour, emotional regulation, and relationships. Such difficulties can result in problems in everyday life, including school, which can impact on the quality of young people’s lives and that of their families. This study aims to better understand the everyday challenges that children who have experienced early life difficulties, and their families, experience and to work with children and families to identify and develop interventions that might be helpful.

Why am I being invited to participate?

We are hoping to recruit adolescents between the ages of 14 and 21 years, who have been adopted and are struggling in one or more areas of their executive functioning. We would also like to hear about the experiences of their parents. Parents will be part of the support plan for the intervention and it is helpful to hear their insights into how the intervention is adapted and how their children can be best supported with the development of their executive functioning.

Do we have to take part?

No, it is up to you and your child to decide whether you wish to take part. If you decide not to take part, we will respect your decision. If you and your child do decide to take part, you will also be asked to sign a consent form for your participation We will give you a copy of the forms and this information sheet to keep. You are free to change your minds and you can withdraw from the study at any time without giving reason.

What will happen if I take part in the study?

If you and your child wish to participate, and you give consent, then we will invite you and your child to complete some brief questionnaire measures online and speak with the researcher online via MS Teams to complete a screening interview and answer any questions you may have about the study. This meeting will be to consider if all the criteria are met to take part in the study;

  • your child is aged between 14 to 21 years
  • they have been adopted
  • you both have a good understanding of written and spoken English
  • they are experiencing executive functioning difficulties in at least one area
  • they have access to a computer and the internet
  • you are able to give informed consent to take part in the study

You and your child are able to meet once a week (for around one hour a week) over four weeks to complete the intervention and take part in the feedback interview.

If your child meets the inclusion criteria and you both wish to take part, we will share the adapted intervention with you to go through with your child and we will conduct three sessions of the intervention with the researcher so your child has experience of what the intervention is like to take part in. At the end of the intervention, we will ask you and your child to give us feedback on their experience of it and the delivery of the intervention. The meeting will be recorded using the recording function on Microsoft Teams so that the research team can analyse the data after the meeting is completed.

Are there any risks to me?

No, there are no significant risks to participating in the study. The questionnaires, meeting, and intervention sessions are designed to optimise levels of motivation and minimise fatigue for your child. If, however, you experience fatigue, then breaks for a rest will be given. In the unlikely event that you become upset or distressed during the meeting, then the discussion will be stopped and you will have the opportunity to discuss the reason for becoming upset with the researcher if you wish. You can then either stop the study or re-join the study.

What are the potential benefits?

By participating in this study, you and your child will be helping us to design an intervention for everyday difficulties experienced by children who have been adopted. We will give your child a £25 gift voucher upon completing the study, as a token of our appreciation.

Will my information be kept confidential?

The responses to the questionnaires and the interviews will be kept anonymous, and data will be stored separately from any identifiable information. All recordings and anonymised written text will be stored at the University of Exeter for a maximum of 10 years and will be kept secure either in a locked filing cabinet (written text) or a password protected University of Exeter server (electronic files). If, after you have spoken in the study, and up until the data is analysed (by 30/07/2024), you wish to withdraw from the study all of the information provided by you for the study will be deleted. You are free to withdraw at any time until up until data analysis (30/07/2024), and you will still receive your voucher.

Due to recent regulatory changes in the way that data are processed (General Data Protection Regulations, 2018, and the Data Protection Act 2018), the University of Exeter’s lawful basis to process personal data for the purposes of carrying out research is termed as a “task in the public interests.” The University will endeavour to be transparent about its processing of your personal data and this information sheet should provide a clear explanation of this. If you have any queries about the University’s processing of your personal data that cannot be resolved by the research team, further information may be obtained from the University’s Data Protection Officer, by e-mailing or at

If you have any concerns about how the data are controlled and managed for this study then you can contact the Research Ethics and Governance Office, University of Exeter, Lafrowda House, St Germans Road, Exeter, Devon, EX4 6TL e-mail:

If you agree to have your contact details added on to the Research Volunteer Register, then we will contact you before 5 years elapses to ask if you wish to remain on the Register. The only time we would disclose any of the information that you or your child has given us, would be if criminal or other potentially harmful behaviour was made known. We would, however, aim to discuss this with you first.

What will happen to the results of the study?

The results will also be submitted to peer-reviewed journals and presented at conferences and meetings. Your name (and any other identifiable information) will not be included on any research outputs, and all data will be presented anonymously.

Further information

If you have any further questions relating to the study, please do not hesitate to contact the lead researcher Dale Abbotts, e-mail; or his supervisor A/Prof Anna Adlam, e-mail:

If you wish to participate, please sign and date the attached consent form and return it to Dale Abbotts, Trainee Clinical Psychologist