IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


UCL’s longitudinal studies to survey thousands about impact of COVID-19

11 May 2020

UCL Institute of Education’s (IOE) Centre for Longitudinal Studies (CLS) has launched a nationwide survey of the participants of five national longitudinal cohort studies, to examine the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Video call being made from a phone

Over 50,000 people are being asked to complete a special online survey, which will gather insights into how COVID-19 has affected different aspects of their lives, including their physical and mental health and wellbeing, family and relationships, education, work, and finances.

The survey will be sent to participants of all five of the national longitudinal cohort studies run at CLS and the MRC Unit for Lifelong Health and Ageing at UCL (MRC LHA at UCL). These studies have been following large nationally representative groups of people since birth, and their ages currently range from 19 through to 74. The studies included are:

  • Millennium Cohort Study (born 2000-02);
  • Next Steps (born 1989-90);
  • 1970 British Cohort Study;
  • 1958 National Child Development Study, and;
  • MRC National Survey of Health and Development (1946 British birth cohort).

The survey will also be sent to members of SABRE, the tri-ethnic Southall and Brent Revisited cohort, also led by MRC LHA at UCL.

The data from the survey will help researchers understand the health, social, and economic impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak. It will be especially important for understanding how people at different life stages are being affected, and how prior life experiences shape resilience or vulnerability to its effects.  By following participants’ lives into the future, the studies will be able to track the longer-term consequences of the pandemic too.

This special survey will be repeated so that the implications of COVID-19 can be tracked over time. If you would like to make any suggestions for the content of these follow-ups, please contact CLS. The questionnaire for the first online survey questionnaire can be accessed here (PDF).

The information collected through this new survey will be de-identified and made available to researchers, so that it can be analysed alongside the rich data the studies have previously collected about participants’ lives. The first data collection round will take place in May, and the first set of data will be released to researchers in summer 2020. Further data collections will be made available later in the year.

Professor Alissa Goodman, CLS Director, said:

“The outbreak of COVID-19 has meant big and sudden changes to how we all live our lives. This new survey will be especially powerful because it is being issued in nationally representative studies that have already been tracking people from childhood and across the whole of their lives.

“The studies included cover people at a wide range of ages and life stages, from early adulthood to older age. The survey will therefore give us unparalleled insights into the ways the pandemic has impacted people of different ages and backgrounds differentially, and will help researchers and policymakers understand which groups have been particularly affected, and how to support them.

“As we continue to follow our participants into the future, beyond the pandemic, we will be able to see how an event as significant as this may shape people’s lives in the longer term.”
Professor Nish Chaturvedi, Director of MRC LHA at UCL added:

“We are particularly pleased to include the tri-ethnic Southall and Brent Revisited cohorts in this web survey. Together with the ethnically diverse populations in the Millennium Cohort Study and Next Steps, this will provide valuable information on ethnic differences in susceptibility to COVID-19.”