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Frequently Asked Questions

Why are we doing this study?

Study Info

All families have stress including stress from parenting, finances, meal preparation to figuring out what works best in their homes. 


The data collected from the Family Stress Study is a first step to identify ways to support families with small children deal with the stress in their lives. 

Who can register for the Family Stress Study?


You can register for this study if you:

  • Have at least one child aged 2-5 years old

  • Live in Guelph or the surrounding area (includes Guelph, Rockwood, Fergus, Elora, Mount Forest, Puslinch, Cambridge, Kitchener, Waterloo, Milton and all points in between); these families will be enrolled at the University of Guelph

  • OR live in the City of Hamilton (includes Hamilton, Ancaster, Dundas, Flamborough, Glanbrook, Stoney Creek, Burlington and points in between); these families will be enrolled at McMaster University

  • You are not planning on moving from the area for the next 3 years

  • You are not or have not been enrolled in the Guelph Family Health Study at the University of Guelph

Family Definition

What is your definition of family?

Family: For this study, we are looking at families with a child aged 2 to 5 years.  Families can have one or many caregivers. Up to two caregivers from each family can register to take part in this study;


Caregiver(s):  We define caregivers as the main adults who regularly provide direct care for a child. Examples of caregivers include parents (can be biological, related, adoptive or foster), grandparents, aunts and uncles. One participating caregiver must have at least 50% custody of the participating child who is 2-5 years old. To participate in the study caregivers must live with the child at least 50% of the time. 

How do I register for this study?

How to Register

If you are interested in joining the Family Stress Study, click this button:

How do I withdraw from this study?


You can withdraw any or all members of your family from the study at any time without consequences by contacting our study team:

Families registered at the University of Guelph:            


Families registered at McMaster University:       


What is involved in participating in this study?


If you register in the Family Stress Study, your family will be asked to:

  • Complete online registration with consent and questionnaire (approximately 1 hour)

  • Complete a 1-day diet record for your child (approximately 30-45 minutes)

  • Complete an at-home health assessment. For this assessment, you will be asked to :

    • ​Measure your child's height and weight

    • Measure your child's waist size

    • Self-report your height and weight

    • Take a small hair sample from your child

    • Track your child's physical activity and sleep for one week (5 minutes per day)


You will be asked to repeat these activities 1 year and 2 years after you join the study.

Everything you need to complete the at-home assessment will be either delivered or mailed directly to your home. 

How do you track my child's activity and sleep?

PA Tracking

Your child's physical activity and sleep will be tracked using a device called an activity monitor. This device will be worn on their hip for 7 days and 7 nights. We will also ask you to complete a log of when your child goes to sleep, wake up, nap and take the monitor off. We will deliver the monitor and log to your home along with a pre-paid addressed envelope for easy return to us.

Hair Samle

Why do you need a hair sample from my child?

We will ask you to collect a small sample (about 1 cm) of your child’s hair from the back of their head.  This is the same amount of hair that we typically lose every day! You will be asked to send the sample back to us at no cost to you. Everything you need to collect the sample will be provided to you.The hair sample will be tested at a laboratory to measure cortisol levels which may be a marker of stress in the body.

Will I receive my child's hair sample results?

Hair Sample Results

The results of your child's hair cortisol analysis will not be provided to you since the relationship between hair cortisol levels and stress in the body is still experimental.

How do I complete the diet record?

Diet Record

The diet record is completed online. You will receive an email with a unique login for your child. The survey will prompt you to record everything your child eats on a typical day.

How will you protect my information and privacy?


We have taken many precautions to ensure that the information and samples your family provides us will remain secure and private and that your family's identity will be protected. For more information, visit our privacy page. 

What if I have questions about the study?


If you have any questions about the study, please contact us:

Families registered at the University of Guelph:


Families registered at McMaster University: 


We can also set up a video chat to guide you through collecting measurements at home

What will you do with the information and measurements collected from my family?

Information Storage

With your permission, the study team will keep the results of your questionnaire and health assessment. 

We have taken many precautions to ensure that the information and samples that you provide us will remain secure and private and that your identity will be protected. For more information, visit our

The results of your family’s questionnaires, measurements and hair samples may also be used in publications and at conferences for the purpose of learning. This will happen only after any information that can directly identify you has been removed.

What will I receive for participating in this study?


If you choose to participate in this study, you will be part of an important project that is helping us better understand how chronic stress affects young children. 

Your family will receive grocery gift cards for participating in the study using the following guidelines:

  • One caregiver family: $55 each year for 3 years

    • $25 for completing online questionnaire and child diet record

    • $30 for completing an at-home health assessment

  • Two caregiver family: $80 each year for 3 years

    • 2 x $25 for completing online questionnaires and child diet record​

    • $30 for completing an at-home health assessment

Fresh Veggies

How will data be collected during physical distancing?

Contactless Data Collection

All data collection will be done from the comfort of your home. Questionnaires and diet records will be completed on-line. A data collection kit to complete the at-home health assessment will be mailed or delivered to you by no contact drop-off.  We will ask you to mail back the activity monitor and hair samples with a provided pre-paid addressed envelope or a team member will come by to pick the items up from your home. 

Our team will be available through phone, email and video chat to answer any questions you have along the way.


We may invite you to attend a health assessment in person at the University of Guelph or McMaster University in the future. Information and consent for this visit will be made available to you if it is possible to meet face-to-face.        

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