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Resilience in Volunteer Animal Care Professions

Private Bag 30

Tasmania 7001 Australia
Phone: (03) 6226 2922


Resilience in Volunteer Animal Care Professions: Does the Stress Shield Model Fit?

Information Sheet for Participants

1. Invitation

You are invited to participate in a research study examining the resilience of volunteers working in animal care professions. This study is being conducted as part of an Honours degree in Psychology by Jacqueline Saward, under the supervision of Dr Crystal Meehan and Professor Kimberley Norris within the School of Psychological Sciences at the University of Tasmania.

If you have difficulties with reading and/or understanding English, you may like to ask a trusted friend, family member or colleague to assist you with participating in this study.

2. What is the purpose of this study?

The purpose of this study is to investigate the individual, team, and organisational elements predicting resilience in volunteer animal care professions. The outcomes from this study are anticipated to increase understandings of the individual and organisational factors that foster psychological wellbeing and resilience within volunteer animal care professionals. This study may also inform future practices and interventions to support these individuals.

3. Why have I been invited to participate?

You are eligible to participate in this study because you are over 18 years of age, currently reside in Australia and volunteer in an animal care profession. This includes volunteer veterinary staff, animal attendants/kennel hands, wildlife rescue and carers, zookeepers or wildlife officers, and laboratory animal technicians.

Participation in this study is voluntary. There will be no consequences if you decide not to participate.

4. What will I be asked to do?

You will be asked to complete an online survey investigating individual traits, coping styles, workplace cohesiveness, job demands and resources, job satisfaction, personal growth, and resilience. The survey will also ask some general demographic questions about yourself and your volunteer work. It is estimated to take between 45-60 minutes. You will be requested to provide participation consent prior to commencing the survey. Your submission of the survey will imply consent.

Following the completion of the survey, you will be invited to enter the draw to receive one of six $50 gift vouchers. Please follow the link at the end of the survey to enter your details if you wish to enter this prize draw.

5. Are there any possible benefits from participation in this study?

This study will ask that you reflect on your experiences as a volunteer animal care professional. Such reflection provides an opportunity for you to gain insight into your own wellbeing, coping strategies and processes. Upon completion of the study, you will also have the opportunity to go into the draw to receive one of six $50 gift vouchers.

6. Are there any possible risks from participation in this study?

The survey will include questions regarding your past experiences while performing duties as a volunteer animal care professional. We acknowledge some events can be negative and recalling of such experiences may cause discomfort or distress. If at any time you experience discomfort while completing the survey, please remember your participation is voluntary and you may withdraw at any time before submission of the survey, simply by closing the browser window.

Should you experience discomfort or distress, please contact any of the following resources:

  • A Mental Health Professional or local General Practitioner (GP). If you do not have access to a Mental Health Professional, a GP will be able to assist in referring you to one.
  • Please also feel free to contact the Chief Investigator, Dr Crystal Meehan, via the contact information below.
  • Lifeline Australia are available for crisis support 24/7 via telephone on 13 11 14. They can also be reached 7 days a week via an online chat on their website between 7pm and midnight at They can also be contacted via text on 0477 13 11 14 from 6pm to midnight, 7 days a week.
  • Beyond Blue are available for support and advice 24/7 via telephone on 1300 224 636. They also have a chat service available online from 3pm to midnight, 7 days a week at

7. What if I change my mind during or after the study?

You are free to withdraw from this study at any time prior to submission without consequence or explanation. If you wish to cease participation, exit the survey by closing the browser window before submitting your responses and your data will not be collected.

Please note, once you have submitted the survey your responses cannot be withdrawn. Due to the anonymous nature of your data, it will not be possible to identify your data for removal.

8. What will happen to the information when this study is over?

The data collected form this study will be stored securely in the University of Tasmania on password-protected cloud storage. Only researchers involved with this study will have access to the data. Your confidentiality and anonymity will be maintained should data from this study be used in relevant future research. The data collected in this study may be used for relevant future research projects. By completing and submitting this survey, you are providing your consent for your research data to be used in the current study, and securely stored for possible use in relevant future research projects.

9. How will the results of the study be published?

It is anticipated that findings from this study will be published in an academic journal and included in the student’s thesis as part of an Honours degree in Psychological Science. A summary of results will be provided to your organisation via email and social media where the study was originally advertised. No personally identifiable information will be included in the results. As data is anonymous, individual feedback will not be possible. If you would like to receive a copy of results directly or discuss the results in further detail, please contact the Chief Investigator via email (

10. What if I have questions about this study?

If you have any concerns or would like to discuss this study further, please feel free to contact the following:

This study has been approved by the University of Tasmania Human Research Ethics Committee. If you have concerns or complaints about the conduct of this study, you can contact the Executive Officer of the HREC on (03) 6226 6254 or email The Executive Officer is the person nominated to receive complaints from research participants. You will need to quote H0027317.


This is an anonymous survey. Your completion and submission of the survey will imply consent for your data responses to be used in current and relevant future studies.

Please note: you can save your progress and return to complete the study at any time before 1 August 2022.

Thank you for your participation in this study.