COVID-19 Longitudinal surveys

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In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, longitudinal population studies, both in the UK and internationally, rapidly increased the frequency of their surveys to track their study participants’ experience of the pandemic and capture how it was affecting their lives.

This section contains information about the COVID-19 surveys launched by UK longitudinal population studies and includes updates on the latest COVID-19 data releases. Use the list below to navigate through the studies.

If you are aware of a survey that has not been featured, please email the details to closer@ucl.ac.uk


1946, 1958, 1970, 2000-01 British birth cohorts, Next Steps and Southall & Brent Revisited

About the survey

Five studies – the 1946 National Survey of Health and Development, managed by the MRC Unit for Lifelong Health and Ageing at UCL and the UCL Centre for Longitudinal Studies’ 1958 National Child Development Study, 1970 British Cohort, the Millennium Cohort Study, and Next Steps have worked together to launch an online, nationwide survey to over 50,00 participants to examine the impact of COVID-19. Members of the tri-ethnic Southall & Brent Revisited cohort, SABRE have also been invited to take part.

The survey will gather insights on various aspects of participants’ lives, including physical and mental health, family and relationships, education, work and finances.

Find out more on the UCL Centre for Longitudinal Studies website

COVID-19 data releases

Data from three COVID-19 surveys sent to participants of five nationally representative longitudinal cohort studies has been deposited in the UK Data Service.

Wave 1 of the COVID-19 Survey in Five National Longitudinal Studies ran throughout May 2020 and over 18,000 people, aged between 17 and 74, took part. The survey collected information on participants’ physical health, mental health and wellbeing, family and relationships, education, work and finances, time use, and attitudes during the lockdown.

Wave 2 of the COVID-19 Survey in Five National Longitudinal Studiesran throughout September and October 2020 and over 26,000 people, aged between 17 and 74, took part. The survey collected information on participants’ physical health, mental health and wellbeing, family and relationships, education, work and finances, time use, and attitudes during the lockdown.

Wave 3 of the COVID-19 Survey in Five National Longitudinal Studies ran throughout February and March 2021 and over 28,000 people, aged between 17 and 74 at the time of Wave 1. This survey closely mirrored the topics covered in Waves 1 and 2, and new questions  were added on topics such as the vaccination programme and long COVID.

COVID-19 antibody test data from the 1958, 1970, 2000-01 British birth cohorts and Next Steps was collected in March 2021. The data is available under End User License from the UK Data Service.

Data from first and second waves of the 1946 National Survey of Health and Development is available from the UK Data Service under Special License Access.

Access the British Birth Cohort Studies and Next Steps COVID-19 data (Study number: 8658)

About the studies

The 1946 National Survey of Health and Development is the oldest and longest running of the British birth cohorts; it follows the lives of 5,362 men and women born in England, Scotland and Wales in March 1946.

The 1958 National Child Development Study follows the lives of 17,415 people born in England, Scotland and Wales in a single week of 1958.

The 1970 British Cohort Survey follows the lives of 17,198 people born in England, Scotland and Wales in a single week of 1970.

The Millennium Cohort Study follows the lives of 19,517 children born across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern England in 2000-01.

Next Steps follows 16,000 young people who were in Year 9 in 2004 at state or independent secondary schools across England.

The Southall & Brent Revisited (SABRE) cohort follows 4,858 European, Indian Asian and African Caribbean men and women living in the UK.

These studies are all part of the COVID-19 Longitudinal Health and Wellbeing National Core Study.

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Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children

About the survey

The Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) have launched a COVID-19 online questionnaire, covering the short-term symptoms and longer-term impacts of the pandemic.

Find out more on the ALSPAC website

COVID-19 data releases

Data from the first three ALSPAC COVID-19 surveys are available for researchers to access.

The first ALSPAC COVID-19 survey ran from April to May 2020 and over 6,800 study participants took part. The survey contains information on symptoms of COVID-19 and seasonal flu, travel prior to the pandemic, mental health and social, behavioural and lifestyle factors. More information about the dataset can be found in ALSPAC’s Wellcome Open Research data note.

The second ALSPAC COVID-19 survey ran from May to July 2020 and over 6,400 study participants took part in the survey. The survey contains information on symptoms of COVID-19 and seasonal flu, mental health and social, behavioural and lifestyle factors. More information about the dataset can be found in ALSPAC’s Wellcome Open Research data note.

The third ALSPAC COVID-19 survey included a questionnaire and home antibody test. The survey was conducted in October 2020 and was sent to over 5,200 participants. The survey was shorter than the study’s previous COVID-19 survey and contains information on symptoms of COVID-19 and negative control symptoms since March 2020, diagnosis with COVID-19 and testing history, attempted and completed antibody test, with reasons why not attempted or completed, and result of antibody test and confidence in own interpretation. More information about the dataset can be found in ALSPAC’s Wellcome Open Research data note.

Visit the ALSPAC website to find out more and access the data.

About the study

Established in 1991, ALSPAC charts the lives of 14,500 people born in the former county of Avon between April 1991 and December 1992 as well as the lives of their parents and children. ALSPAC is part of the COVID-19 Longitudinal Health and Wellbeing National Core Study.

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Born in Bradford

About the survey

Born in Bradford are assessing the impact of COVID-19 (including lockdown, social distancing, self-isolation, school closures, remote working) on communities and families. They have started with surveys of three key groups to assess difficulties, both practical and psychological, which will be repeated over the coming year to build a longitudinal picture of impact.

Find out more on the Born in Bradford website

About the study

Born in Bradford tracks the health and wellbeing of over 13,500 children, and their parents born at Bradford Royal Infirmary between March 2007 and December 2010. Born in Bradford is part of the COVID-19 Longitudinal Health and Wellbeing National Core Study.

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English Longitudinal Study of Ageing

About the survey

The English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) has launched a COVID-19 survey to assess the impact of the pandemic on the older population of England. The survey contains questions on changes in financial circumstances, work and caregiving, mental and physical health, social contact and loneliness, health and social care, and stress and worries during the crisis.

Find out more on the ELSA website

COVID-19 data releases

Data from the two sweeps of the ELSA COVID-19 Substudy is available to download from the UK Data Service. The substudy surveys contain information on a range of topics, including symptoms of COVID-19, other health issues and health behaviours, mental health, demographics, financial circumstances and work, and social connections and isolation.

Data from the first wave of the substudy was collected in June-July 2020 and over 7,000 participants took part.

Data from the second wave of the substudy was collected in November-December 2020 and over 6,700 participants took part.

Access the ELSA COVID-19 dataset (Study number: 8688)

About the study

ELSA tracks the health, social, wellbeing and economic circumstances of over 10,000 people aged 50 and older in England. ELSA is part of the COVID-19 Longitudinal Health and Wellbeing National Core Study.

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Generation Scotland and Aberdeen Children of the 1950s

About the survey

Generation Scotland recently launched the CovidLife survey which aims to track how the Government’s COVID-19 measures are affecting individuals and their lives. The study is open to all UK residents over the age of 18 and has also been sent to participants who have previously contributed to Generation Scotland and the Aberdeen Children of the 1950s.

Find out more on the CovidLife website

About the studies

Generation Scotland is a resource of human biological samples collected from over 30,000 people across Scotland. Generation Scotland is part of the COVID-19 Longitudinal Health and Wellbeing National Core Study.

The Aberdeen Children of the 1950s follows 12,150 people born in Aberdeen, Scotland between 1950 and 1956.

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Hertfordshire Cohort Study

About the survey

The Hertfordshire Cohort Study (HCS) has launched a new COVID-19 sub-study to track how the pandemic and associated government measures are impacting older people’s lives and what the implications might be for their physical and mental health and wellbeing.

Find out more about the HCS COVID-19 survey

About the study

HCS comprises a nationally unique study of 3,000 men and women born during the period 1931-1939 and still resident in the English county of Hertfordshire during the 1990s.

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The Health and Employment After Fifty study

About the survey

In early February 2021, the Health and Employment After Fifty (HEAF) study invited their participants to take part in an online COVID-19 survey to track how their lives have changed both prior to and during the pandemic. The questions focused on the early stages of the pandemic (March – June 2020) and covered a range of topics including; symptoms of COVID-19 and shielding, healthcare utilisation, work and finances, measures of health and social isolation, and lifestyle factors.

HEAF plans to conduct in-depth interviews with a sub-sample of participants to complement the quantitative component of their COVID-19 research. A second questionnaire will also be sent out in early 2022 to help track the long-lasting effects of the pandemic on middle-aged people in England.

About the study

Established in 2013, HEAF follows the lives of over 8,000 men and women living in England and aged 50-64 years old at the time of recruitment. The main aims of the study are to examine the impact working to older ages can have on health and how often health affects people’s ability to work different types of job at older ages.

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Southampton Women’s Survey

About the survey

Data are being collected about experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown on participants in the Southampton Women’s Survey (SWS).  Mothers in the study will be contacted by both e-mail and text message asking them to complete an online questionnaire covering issues including mental health, health behaviours, grocery shopping experiences and self-efficacy.  The study offspring of these women are currently aged 12-21 years and the mothers will be asked to forward a link where appropriate asking the offspring to complete a similar online questionnaire tailored to their age group.

The longitudinal information available on these participants, stretching back to prospective data collected before the mothers were pregnant, will enable greater understanding of influences on health and wellbeing during the pandemic.

About the study

SWS is the only birth cohort study in Europe in which the mothers were recruited before conception of the child. 12,583 women were recruited from Southampton and surrounding areas. Subsequently, 3158 of these women were followed through pregnancy and delivered a liveborn child.  The survey has followed up these children at ages 6 and 12 months and 2, 3, 4, 6-7, 8-9 and 11-13 years.

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Understanding Society: The UK Household Longitudinal Study

About the survey

From April 2020, participants from Understanding Society have been asked to complete a short web-survey once a month. The survey covers the changing impact of the pandemic on individuals, families and wider communities.

Find out more on the Understanding Society website

COVID-19 data releases

Data from eight waves of the Understanding Society COVID-19 survey are available to download from the UK Data Service.

Wave 1 of the Understanding Society COVID-19 survey was collected in April 2020 and over 17,500 study participants took part. The survey contains information about mental and physical health, health behaviours, caring, employment, income, education, and family relationships within and beyond the household.

Wave 2 of the Understanding Society COVID-19 survey ran from late May to early June 2020. The survey includes questions on a range of topics including COVID-19 symptoms, physical and mental health, housing, employment and finances, relationships, and time use.

Wave 3 of the Understanding Society COVID-19 survey was collected in June 2020. The survey contained questions on a range of topics, including COVID-19 symptoms, employment and working conditions, loneliness and mental health, relationships, and neighbourhood cohesion.

Wave 4 of the Understanding Society COVID-19 survey was collected in July 2020. The survey contained questions on a range of topics, including COVID-19 symptoms, long-term health, caring and volunteering, loneliness, employment and finances, religion, sleep, nutrition, and life satisfaction. The Wave 4 survey also has data from the survey sent to children aged 10-15 using questions from the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire.

Wave 5 of the Understanding Society COVID-19 survey was collected in September 2020. The survey contained questions on a range of topics, including COVID-19 symptoms, long-term health, loneliness, employment, alcohol consumption and smoking, housing and life satisfaction.

Wave 6 of the Understanding Society COVID-19 survey was collected in November 2020. The survey contained questions on a range of topics, including long-term health conditions, loneliness, financial security, mental health, life satisfaction, and neighbourhood cohesion.

Wave 7 of the Understanding Society COVID-19 survey was collected in January 2021. The survey contained questions on a range of topics, including life satisfaction, exercise, alcohol consumption and smoking, work conditions and job searching, and housing.

Wave 8 of the Understanding Society COVID-19 survey was collected in March 2021. The survey contained questions on a range of topics, including household relationships, caring within and outside of the household, loneliness, life satisfaction, travel to work, finance, flu and covid vaccine, and self-assesses health.

Access the Understanding Society COVID-19 dataset (Study number: 8644)

About the study

Understanding Society is the largest longitudinal household panel study of its kind, following 40,000 UK households annually. Understanding Society is part of the COVID-19 Longitudinal Health and Wellbeing National Core Study.

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TwinsUK

About the survey

TwinsUK have launched COVID-19 Personal Experience (COPE), a questionnaire study that aims to understand the physical and mental health implications of self-isolation due to COVID-19. The questionnaire was administered during the peak of the epidemic in the UK, and will be repeated towards the decline of the epidemic in the UK.

TwinsUK will also shortly launch a survey to investigate symptoms and after-effects of COVID-19, with a focus on fatigue. This will be repeated after three months to understand how any after-effects or fatigue may persist. This study will run alongside twins logging symptoms regularly through the COVID-19 Symptom Study app.

Find out more on the TwinsUK website

COVID-19 data releases

Data from the first two rounds of the TwinsUK COVID-19 Personal Experience (COPE) questionnaire is available for researchers to access.

The first COPE questionnaire was administered in April 2020 and over 4,100 participants responded. The questionnaire covers the effect of COVID-19 on participants’ lives, physical health and mental health; responsibilities and social network; personal circumstances and feelings; home environment and household; and demographic information.

The second COPE questionnaire was administered in late July/early August 2020 and have over 5,300 participant responses. The questionnaire covers participants’ usual health; symptoms and their health since the pandemic; tiredness and fatigue; effect of COVID-19 on participants’ lives; responsibilities and social network; and personal circumstances and feelings.

Visit the TwinsUK website for more information on accessing the data. The data access committee meet regularly and aim to share data with bona fide researchers as much as possible.

About the study

With 15,000 participants, TwinsUK is the UK’s largest adult twin registry and the most clinically detailed in the world. TwinsUK aims to investigate the genetic and environmental basis of a range of complex diseases and conditions. TwinsUK is part of the COVID-19 Longitudinal Health and Wellbeing National Core Study.

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Irish Longitudinal Study of Ageing

About the survey

The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) has launched a special survey to assess how COVID-19, and subsequent measures taken to ‘flatten the curve’ has impacted adults over age 50 in Ireland. Over 6,000 participants will be asked about how their health, social lives, mood, quality of life, psychological state and expectations have been changed by the pandemic.

TILDA will also run a concurrent project collecting biological samples in order to establish who has been infected by the virus, and determine risk factors and consequences of contracting COVID-19 for older adults in Ireland.

Find out more on the TILDA website

About the study

TILDA tracks the health, lifestyle and financial situation of over 8,000 adults age 50 and over living in Ireland.

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Growing Up in Ireland

About the survey

In December 2020, both cohorts of Growing Up in Ireland (one group of children age 12 and their parents, and one groups of young adults age 22) were invited to take part in a short online survey about their experiences of the pandemic.

The survey covered a range of topics, including questions about changes to the participants’ education, work, and lifestyles. It also asked about participants’ perception of the disease in relation to where they got their information, whether they lived with people vulnerable to severe COVID-19 disease, and if they or a close contact had had COVID-19 or its symptoms.

Find out more on the Growing Up in Ireland website

COVID-19 data releases

Data from the Special COVID-19 Survey for both cohorts in the Growing Up in Ireland study is available to access. The survey ran throughout December 2020. In Cohort ’08 (Infant Cohort), over 3,300 children (aged 11-12) and over 3,900 primary caregivers took part and in Cohort ’98, over 2,200 young adults (aged 22) took part.

Visit the Growing Up in Ireland website to find out more and access the data.

About the study

Growing Up in Ireland is a national longitudinal study of children and youth in Ireland. The study began in 2006 and follows two cohorts of children – the elder cohort (Cohort ’98) consists of 8,000 children who were age 9 when the study started and the younger cohort (Cohort ’08) comprises 10,000 infants who were 9 months old at the start of the study.