Covid-19 Research

The Covid-19 outbreak, and the physical distancing measures put in place to contain it, have changed the way we live our day-to-day life and interact with one another.

King’s College London, the University of Bergen and Universidad del País Vasco are currently inviting individuals to participate in the Urban Mind Covid-19 project. This research aims to help us better understand how this unprecedented situation is impacting our behaviours and wellbeing.

To take part in the project, please download our free Urban Mind app via the Apple Store or Google Play, select “join private study” option and enter the password “C19”.

If you decide to take part, over the next 30 days you will be prompted to answer a set of questions once a day. Please answer as promptly and truthfully as you can.

Your participation will be anonymous and the information you provide will be completely private and confidential.

If I agree to participate, what information do I need to provide?

When you first use the Urban Mind app, you will be asked to complete an initial questionnaire about your age, gender, occupation and how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected your wellbeing and behaviour. You will then be asked questions about your thoughts and behaviour in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic once a day over a period of 30 days. Participation in the study is private and confidential and your entries will be anonymous. You will not be asked to provide your name, phone, e-mail address or any other information which could identify you.

Throughout the 30 days trial, we will acquire information about your geographical location using the GPS sensor on your mobile phone. You can opt out of this feature if you prefer. We will use your geolocation data to link your responses with external environmental datasets (e.g. air pollution levels), helping us investigate the potential effects of the environment on mental health and wellbeing. We will also acquire information about your physical activity from your smartphone – your step count, distance travelled and whether you are walking, running or cycling. You can also opt-out of this feature if you prefer. We will ask for your consent to provide your geographical location and physical activity data when you first use the Urban Mind app. Your consent to provide this data can be changed at any time using the ‘Settings’ menu in the app.

At the end of each assessment you will have the option of taking a photograph of the ground or floor where you are standing and/or an 8-second audio recording of your current environment. These photographs and audio files will be analysed for research purposes and, furthermore, may be posted on our social media and used for digital art exhibitions to promote the project.

In order to participate in this study, we ask for your consent to our Privacy Policy. Please take a minute to read our Privacy Policy.

How will my data be used?

The data you provide will be stored on a password-protected server and used for academic research, in order to understand how Covid-19 is affecting mental wellbeing in the general public. The data may also be used for other research purposes in the future. Data collected in the UK will not be accessed by University of Bergen and Universidad del País Vasco. The results will be published in scientific journals and presented on our web site dedicated to the project (www.urbanmind.info) and social media.

If I agree to participate in this research, how much time will it take?

The initial questionnaire will take approximately 5 minutes to complete. Throughout the 30 days of assessments, you will be asked to answer a set of questions once a day, and each time it will take you approximately 3 minutes to complete.

What if sometimes I am too busy to answer the questions, or simply do not feel like it?

Once you hear a prompt inviting you to answer the questions, you have 3 hours to respond. If you are unable to answer within this period, you can skip the assessment and answer again at the following prompt. We would like you to answer as many assessments as you can, as this will make the data more informative.

Is my participation anonymous?

We won’t know who you are. We do not ask for your name, address or any other identifying information, and we don’t require your phone number or email address. While geolocation, audio recordings and photos meet the definition of personal identifiable information, we will not link this data to you as an individual. For further information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Is my participation private and confidential?

Yes, your participation is completely private and confidential. The information you provide will remain with King’s College London, the University of Bergen and Universidad del País Vasco, and may be shared securely with the project partners and other organisations collaborating on the project for research purposes. For further information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Your data will be processed in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation 2016 (GDPR). In accordance with the King’s Data Retention Schedule for ‘low ethical risk applications’ data will be retained for 3 years after completion of the study. Your data will remain with the research team.

You can find more information on how your data will be processed in accordance with GDPR here.

What if I agree to participate but then change my mind?

You can withdraw from this research at any time and without giving any reason until your final assessment. You can do this by clicking on the ‘Settings’ button in the app and then “Delete All Entries”. You can also delete the Urban Mind app from your smartphone at any time; however, once you have done this, you will no longer be able to delete your entries. After the final assessment, it will not be possible to withdraw from the study. This is because we are not able to identify your specific entries, as we do not ask for any identifying information such as your e-mail address, and therefore we cannot distinguish the entries you have provided from those of other people.

What If I do not want to take a photograph and/or audio recording?

Taking a photograph and/or audio recording at the time of assessment is completely optional. You can still participate in the study without contributing this content.

What if I submit a photograph and/or audio file but then change my mind?

You can delete all photographs and audio files that you have sent us by withdrawing from this research without giving a reason. This can be done via the ‘Settings’ menu in the app before your final assessment.

Who owns the copyright of the photographs and/or audio files that I have submitted?

You will own the copyright of the photographs and/or audio files you have contributed. By contributing this content, you agree to its use in scientific publications, social media and in public exhibitions related to the project indefinitely.

What are the benefits of participating in this study?

Your participation will help us understand the impact of Covid-19 on mental wellbeing in the general public and inform novel interventions to mitigate the negative effects of current and future outbreaks.

What are the risks of participating in this study?

We do not anticipate any risks to your mental health or wellbeing from participating in the study.

Collecting geographic location and information about your physical activity can reduce the battery life on your phone slightly, so that you may have to charge it more often.

Who should I contact?

If you have further questions or this study has harmed you in any way, please contact the project lead:

Dr Stefania Tognin Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience King’s College London De Crespigny Park London SE5 8AF, UK Email: stefania.tognin@kcl.ac.uk Phone 0044 (0)20 7848 0415