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Table 4 Exemplars reflecting key themes extracted in qualitative analysis

From: Adolescents’ reactions to participating in ethically sensitive research: a prospective self-report study

Theme Exemplars
Enjoy the questionnaire
 Understanding and reflection It allowed me to reflect on my positive thoughts and how I view myself as an individual
Knowing I haven’t tried any illegal substances or at least reading I haven’t made me feel good
On the last page my head started running over all the pleasant memories I was writing about
It gave me a better understanding of myself
It helped me to understand more about the mental health problems of young people and helped me understand more about me
 Help is available/helping others I hope that what I have answered can contribute even just a little to the research
I know it will help research into emotional problems with teenagers providing solutions to overcome their issues
Made me feel that there is help out there, we just need to talk about it
I did enjoy this because it makes me know that someone is trying to help
 Fun and enjoyable It was interesting and I enjoy filling out questionnaires
Because I like being asked questions about me
Yes, it was enjoyable. More fun than what I thought
It was a change and I enjoyed it
 Expressing themselves Because I can release my feelings, emotions and thoughts and know they will stay anonymous
I can tell the truth and not get into trouble
I knew I could be completely honest and it felt good to express some things that I had not in any other way
 Getting out of class I got out of geography class and got a show bag
It meant we don’t have to do work
Because I won’t have to do schoolwork and listen to the teacher…
Not enjoy the questionnaire
 Boredom/inconvenience I didn’t have a problem with my life so it wasn’t really effective for me
Didn’t really relate to any of my problems
I sometimes found it hard to understand what the question was asking for example, I have never thought about committing suicide so I found it strange answering questions about that topic
Cause it was boring…
It took ages. I was meant to be in the library doing assignments and studying
Missed studying for science test coming up
 Negative experience Shows the bad side of me
It made me think about my problems too much
I did not realise other people had some of the worries mentioned
It made me sad for others
Worried or upset
 Personal experience/feelings It was just upset remembering things that have happened
I realised that maybe I do need help
I feel like there might be something wrong with me
Recently someone in my community committed suicide so the questions relating to that were upsetting
The self-harm/suicide part and the bullying part and the sexuality part
 Relationships with others Brought back memories of awkwardness with my ex-girlfriend
I don’t have a relationship with my dad, which makes me sad
I didn’t like the questions about family because my relationship with my family is great
When I shared thoughts about my friends, I wished hard that I had better friends
…it’s hard because I have a really close friend who does it [self-injures] and I can’t stop him
 Awareness of others’ issues Some people my age actually have these problems
That there are a lot of mental problems out there
The thought that young people take their lives
The drinking and drugs, it just worried me that people do that to themselves
 Confidentiality I was worried this questionnaire wouldn’t be confidential
… I might be identified by my answers
… you might contact the school about me
I… am worried about my parents finding out