Frequently asked questions

BHYP (“Be Hype”) is a project being led by a transdisciplinary team of researchers from Brock University and other Canadian/International universities, as well as partner organizations and a youth engagement committee. BHYP provides one of the first truly comprehensive studies of positive youth development by examining how lifestyle choices, environmental experiences, health-risk behaviours, mental health, physical health, and brain development interact over time.

Schools, community agencies, government agencies, and health professionals promoting youth wellbeing will be given a summary of the overall results of this project. Parent/guardian information sessions will be provided for families to learn more about the project results.

While it is well known that early childhood is a sensitive period of development, recently the idea that adolescence also might be a sensitive period has gained traction; in fact, adolescence could represent a second “window of opportunity in brain development”, resulting in unique vulnerabilities (such as drug use and mental health problems), as well as unique opportunities (such as a passion for social issues and learning) that can have life-long repercussions. BHYP’s attention to the factors that promote healthy versus unhealthy lifestyle choices will promote wellbeing during the important transitions from childhood to adolescence to adulthood.

Consent process

Yes, this project’s procedures and materials have been reviewed and approved.  The Niagara Catholic District School Board also has approved the project.

Parent questionnaire component

Parents will be asked to fill out a questionnaire once. It will take about 20 minutes and asks questions about their child. The questionnaire will help BHYP understand more about children’s problem behaviours across grades 3 to 8.

Youth questionnaire component

The questionnaire is a comprehensive list of questions assessing a wide range of areas that have been associated with wellbeing and youth development.

Youth with parent/guardian consent who are between the ages of 8-13 years of age will complete this questionnaire each year for 5 years.

By repeating this survey with the same youth, we are able to attain the best and most complete picture of wellbeing and health-risk behaviour changes over time. This also will allow us to examine the critical transition from childhood to adolescence.

The survey will be completed in class in two 45-minute sessions between February and May.

The survey asks youth about family, friends, school, wellbeing, goals, attitudes, media use, and health-risk behaviours.

In order to effectively answer the complex research questions that this project seeks to address, a holistic and comprehensive examination of youth wellbeing and the factors that affect wellbeing is required.

Yes, students will have complete confidentiality, and they will not put their names anywhere on the questionnaire. In order to compare responses across measures, a code number will be used to identify each participant. Only one research assistant will have access to the code numbers and the names of participants but they will not have access to any of the responses.  Completed surveys will be placed in a sealed envelope until they are analyzed. The results will be presented on a community-wide basis, which means that no individual information will be made available.

To ensure confidentiality, teachers, parents, and school boards also will not be given individual results.

Prior to the questionnaire being completed, a parent information night will be held so that parents/guardians can view the questionnaire and ask questions of the research team. Additionally, a copy of the questionnaire will be available for viewing in the school office.

Those who do not participate will be given an alternative curriculum-based health activity to complete. These activities will not be collected by the BHYP team.

Lab component

The lab component is an integral part of this project as it allows us to research how brain development and physical characteristics relate to healthy lifestyle choices. This study is the first of its kind to collectively measure brain activity, physical information, and comprehensive questionnaire data over a 5-year period.

The lab component is a 1.5-hour individual session in our BHYP Mobile Lab (or in a quiet room in your child’s school). Some physical information such as height, body mass, and grip strength will be collected. Participants will also complete computerized games with a non-invasive EEG net on their head.

EEG is a procedure used to track and record brainwave activity. This is a non-invasive measure in which the child wears a cap (similar to a bathing cap) that has sponge like sensors which sit on the outside of the head. The process does not hurt and only feels like something is on the head.

Unfortunately, because of cost and time constraints only some students who completed the survey component will also be invited to the lab component. Those who are selected to do the lab component will be informed via email or phone.

Participating in the lab component is a unique experience where participants will be able to see their brainwave activity. In the past, youth have indicated they like to see their brainwaves. These students will receive a print out of their brainwaves to take home. Parents also will receive a report of the physical information we collect. These participants will play some computer games and win prizes. It can be an educational experience and allows youth to experience scientific research first hand.

This is a specialized trailer that has been created just for BHYP and will be parked at the participant’s school. It has been outfitted with the equipment used to collect EEG recordings and physical information.

Participants completing the lab component will be excused from class three times during the 5 years of the project during an appropriate time determined by the classroom teacher.

There will be two female research assistants in the lab at all times. These individuals have vulnerable sector checks. Additionally, there will be video recording throughout the entire session for security reasons. The video will not be used for research purposes.

Consent forms will be sent home, and will need to be signed by parents. It is important that all youth participate so that we can gain a true understanding of how to promote healthy youth lifestyle choices.

For more information, please contact the BHYP office by phone at 905 688 5550 x5474, or email us at bhyp@brocku.ca.