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Why Do We Need a Hair Sample?

A primary goal of this study is to compare levels of stress between you and your child by examining the stress hormones that can be measured in hair. By looking at these hormones, we hope to learn more about the two of you on a biological level! We will not be examining any other factors and your information will be kept confidential.

We will be sending you materials for you to collect a hair sample from yourself and your child. After you receive the materials for hair collection in the mail, please follow the steps described below for both you and your child.

What You’ll Receive in Your Hair Collection Kit:

  • Aluminum foil (2 pre-labelled pieces)

  • Paper ruler for measuring hair

  • Hair clips

  • Floss

  • Scissors

  • Alcohol wipes (2 swabs)

  • A small padded envelope for the “return” shipment (pre-labelled, pre-addressed)

  • Hair collection instructions

  • Hair habits questionnaire (for mom and child)

  • Someone to help you

How to Collect Hair Sample:

  • If possible, have someone else collect your hair sample. However, you can absolutely do it yourself!

  • Starting at the end of each eyebrow, trace a horizontal line and separate hair so that you divide two large sections. You should have a top and bottom section.

  • Use the provided hair clip(s) to lift and hold the top section of hair, revealing the line of division between the two sections.

  • Collect a bundle of hair of about 3 - 5mm, which is about half the diameter of a pencil. When you separate the sample, make sure it’s a horizontal strip across the scalp.

  • Then, use a piece of floss to tie a double knot around the bundle about 1/2inch away from the scalp. The knot will keep the hair together once it’s cut and tell us which side of the clipping is closest to the root. Do not tie too close to the scalp because the floss might slip off or untie once you cut the hair.

  • Cut the hair above the knot, as close as possible to the scalp.

  • Leave the floss on the hair when you store the clipping.

  • Repeat these steps and collect a second hair clipping from a different section along the midline you created.

  • You should have two hair bundles, each tied with a piece of floss double-knotted close to the root side.

  • If your child’s hair is at least 3 cm in length along the midline, please repeat the same procedures listed above for your child’s hair collection. If your child's hair is too short at the crown of the head, you can take a sample from another location on the head.

Handling Hair Sample

  • Once you have collected a hair sample, lay the two bundles on the left and right sides of the aluminum foil, making sure that the tied-off (just cut) sides are laying near the word “root.”

  • Fold the aluminum foil without bending the hair itself. Fold the top and bottom sides first (the root and end sides), and then fold the long sides second (along the length of the hair). If the hair is too long, you can curl it to fit inside the foil, but be careful not to bend/fold the hair itself.

  • Write today’s date on the white label placed on the outside of the foil.

  • Repeat the same procedure for your child.

  • Please complete the Hair Habits Interview sheet included in the collection kit.

  • Please put your hair foil packet, your child’s hair foil packet, and the hair habits interview into the pre-addressed padded envelope and seal it before sending it back to us. Thanks!

Shipping Address:

COMET Study

P.O. Box 40, Upland, CA 91785

Please reach out to us using the contact information below!