Canadian Veterans Advocacy

Thursday, October 16, 2014

New announcement: Coping with military-related post-traumatic stress disorder (STUDY)

Coping with military-related post-traumatic stress disorder

Project title:

Exploring Drug Usage Among Canadian Veterans with Chronic Pain and Military Related Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Lead researcher:

Roxanne Sterniczuk, PhD
Department of Psychology and Neuroscience
1355 Oxford St. Rm. 3263
3rd Fl. Life Sciences Centre
Dalhousie University
Halifax, Nova Scotia B3H 4R2

Other researchers:

John Whelan, PhD, R. Psych
Whelan Psychological Services Incorporated
Rockingham Ridge Plaza
30 Farnham Gate Road, Suite C
Halifax, Nova Scotia B3M 3E3

Sean Barrett, PhD, R. Psych
Department of Psychology and Neuroscience
1355 Oxford St. Rm. 3263
3rd Fl. Life Sciences Centre
Dalhousie University
Halifax, Nova Scotia B3H 4R2


We invite you to take part in a research study being conducted by Dr. Roxanne Sterniczuk who is a Clinical Psychology PhD student in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at Dalhousie University. She will be conducting her study under the supervision of Dr. John Whelan who is the lead psychologist at Whelan and Associates psychological services, and Dr. Sean Barrett who is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at Dalhousie University.

Taking part in the research is up to you; it is entirely your choice. Even if you do take part, you may leave the study at any time for any reason. The information below tells you about what is involved in the research, what you will be asked to do, and about any benefit, risk, inconvenience or discomfort that you might experience.

Please ask as many questions as you like. If you have any questions later, please contact the lead researcher.

Purpose and outline of the research study:

This research looks at the relationships between substance use, both prescription and non-prescription, in Canadian Forces (CF) veterans with military-related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), who may or may not have chronic pain. The laws surrounding marijuana use in Canada are rapidly changing and there is also an increasing number of former CF members being diagnosed with military-related PTSD; it is important to understand the prevalence and reasons for marijuana use in this population and how it relates to the use of other substances, because this information can help guide better treatment for our injured veterans.

Who can take part in the research study?

You may participate this in this study if (1) you have previously served in the CF, regardless of where and which branch you served in, your position, your age, your sex, and the time since your discharge; and (2) you are currently undergoing treatment for military-related PTSD.

How many people are taking part in this study?

We aim to recruitment at least 100 participants.

What you will be asked to do:

To help us understand the relationship between marijuana use, chronic pain, and military-related PTSD, we will ask you to complete a brief, 5-20 minute questionnaire. Along with reading this consent form, the study should take no more than 25 minutes.

Possible benefits, risk, and discomforts:

Participating in this research might not immediately or directly benefit you, but the information that you provide will increase our understanding of the reasons behind marijuana use in those with military-related PTSD. This will further our society?s knowledge of this important issue.

There are some possible risks associated with this study. Due to the sensitive nature of the area of research, you may find that certain questions that are asked of you cause some distress or discomfort. You may not like all of the questions that you will be asked. You do not have to answer those questions that you find too distressing or that you do not wish to answer.

How your information will be protected:

No identifying information will be collected within the survey, meaning that you will not be identified in any way within our data set or our reports. The information that you provide will contain no links to your former military-related status. A participant number will be assigned to each survey in our written and computerized records. By completing the online survey you are consenting to having your information used in our research study. If you should choose to withdraw from the study, you may simply close the survey without submitting the data that you have entered; it will be not be saved within our survey system. Information that you do submit to us upon completing the survey will be kept private. Only the research team will have access to this information. In some cases, other authorized officials at the University such as the Research Ethics Board or the Scholarly Integrity Officer may have access as well. We will describe and share our findings in an academic manuscript that will be submitted for publication. The people who work with your de-identified information have an obligation to keep all research information private. All electronic records will be kept secure in a password-protected, encrypted file on the researcher's personal computer.

If you decide to stop participating:

You are free to leave the study at any time. If you decide to stop participating at any point during the study, you can also decide whether you want any of the information that you have contributed up to that point to be removed or if you will allow us to use that information. Given that no identifying information will be collected, it will be impossible to remove the data once it has been submitted.

How to obtain results:

Given that this study will not be collecting any personal information, we will not be able to provide results directly to you. Any data that is published from this study may be found using the article search engine PubMed. The following terms may be used within articles that have published findings from this study: Sterniczuk, Whelan, and/or Barrett; along with: military, veteran, PTSD, cannabis, marijuana, drug use, and/or chronic pain.


We are happy to talk with you about any questions or concerns you may have about your participation in this research study. Please contact Dr. Roxanne Sterniczuk ( or Dr. John Whelan (902 461-0476; at any time with questions, comments, or concerns about the research study (if you are calling long distance, please call collect).

If you have any ethical concerns about your participation in this research, you may also contact the Director, Research Ethics, Dalhousie University at (902) 494-1462, or email:

Conflict of Interest Statement:

As per Articles 3.1 and 7.4 in the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans, there is a dual role conflict of interest, and possible undue influence, on the part of Dr. Whelan, who will be participating in the recruitment of participants as a therapist, as well as in supervising the research study. There is minimal risk to you because no private information pertaining to the study questionnaire will be directly gathered by Dr. Whelan. He will only be able to provide further clarification regarding the purpose of the study if you have any questions. However, it will be at your discretion whether or not to partake in the study, and you will remain completely anonymous. Dr. Whelan, along with the rest of the research team, will not be aware of your participation.

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You can view the full announcement by following this link:

The Canadian Veterans Advocacy Team.

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