Frequently Asked Questions

How long does this study take?
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Who is eligible for participation in this study?

You may be eligible for this study if you:

  • Have a diagnosis of bipolar disorder or major depressive disorder

  • Experience suicidal thoughts and/or urges

  • Are between the ages of 14 - 18 years old

  • Own and use a smartphone

  • Are willing to give us access to your phone sensor data

  • Are willing to complete monthly phone interviews and surveys

Note: Final eligibility will be determined based on a brief screening interview and in-person diagnostic evaluation

Who is not eligible for participation in this study?

Unfortunately, we cannot include people who:

  • Meet study criteria for a neurodevelopmental disorder and/or intellectual disability (IQ<75), including autism spectrum disorder

  • Have a current comorbid diagnosis likely to affect ability to participate, including substance dependence or conduct disorder

  • Do not use a smartphone

What will be expected of me if I participate?

If you choose to participate in the study and are eligible, you and your caregiver will be expected to complete all study tasks.

These include:​​

  • A baseline assessment with you and your caregiver, either at our Manhattan office (One Park Avenue) or virtually. 

    • This appointment will take between 2 and 3 hours and will include an extensive interview about your mental health history​

  • A monthly 20-minute interview over the phone for three months, separately for both you and your caregiver

  • A monthly 15-minute online survey for three months, separately for both you and your caregiver 

  • Daily brief questions about any suicidal thoughts and behaviors you may have experienced in the last 24 hours

  • Use of the BiAffect study keyboard at all times throughout the study

  • A final 1.5-hour assessment at the end of the study, either at our office or virtually

Does my parent have to participate too?

Yes. If you choose to be in the study, a parent, caregiver, or other legal guardian must participate in the study with you. If your caregiver does not agree to participate in the study or does not comply with the requirements of the study, you will not be able to participate either. 

Will I be compensated for my participation?

Yes! All study tasks are compensated for both you and your caregiver as follows:

​Adolescent participant:

  • $20 for completion of the baseline appointment

  • $10 each month for completion of the phone interview and online survey

  • $30 - $40 each month for use of the BiAffect keyboard and completion of daily surveys

  • $20 for completion of the final appointment

​Caregiver participant:

  • $20 for completion of the baseline appointment

  • $10 each month for completion of the phone interview and online survey

  • $10 for completion of the final appointment

How long does this study take?

Your participation in this study lasts for 3 months. 

What specific data are you collecting?

The BiAffect app will be passively collecting data from your smartphone sensors, including the accelerometer, gyroscope, multi-touch display, and keyboard. The custom BiAffect keyboard can record metadata such as the duration of each key press, general category of which keys are pressed, and the use of autocorrect. The app keyboard will not collect or store data about the words that you have typed or the content of your messages.

What will be done with my data?

We plan to use sophisticated mathematical models to look for patterns in the data that change when suicidal thoughts and/or behaviors appear or are at different levels of severity/intensity. These models rely on a technique known as machine learning. This will help us understand what characteristics to look for in the future when we try to predict suicidal thoughts and behaviors based on people’s smartphone data.

Are there any risks or benefits?

We don’t anticipate any significant risks to participants. The study activities do not require you to do anything unusual or substantially different from normal activities. The main risk is likely to be discomfort during the interview portions of the study, when you will be asked to answer questions about mental health, which may be sensitive. The risk of discomfort will be minimized by doing what we can to ensure privacy. You may also find use of the new keyboard temporarily confusing. 

 

Some people might also be uncomfortable with the idea that their digital data are being collected. These data will be stored with an ID code, not with a name, and will be encrypted and password-protected to minimize the risk of identification.

 

We hope that this study will lead to significant benefits in the future - our goal is to be able to predict the onset of suicidal thoughts and behaviors in young people, so that preventive interventions can be administered. We hope this will help improve the quality of life for many young people affected by mood disorders and suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

How will this study protect my privacy?

The privacy of your data is a priority for us. All data will be identified only by an ID number. Your name will not be attached to your data at any time. Additionally, all survey and phone data will be collected using secure methods and will not be accessible to anyone outside of the research team.

We rely on dedicated people to do this research. Thank you in advance for your contribution to science and to our understanding of suicide risk in adolescents!