UCL News


Sexual lifestyle survey gets funding go-ahead

13 October 2008


National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles natsal.ac.uk/home.aspx" target="_self">Natsal
  • UCL Biomedicine 
  • UCL Division of Population Health
  • The National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal) has just secured £7.3m of funding to carry out a new survey in 2010 - and UCL researchers will again be a vital part of the team examining the findings.

    Documenting the sexual trends of the nation is vital to tracking disease and directing health policies and education and this will be the third decade in a row that such a study is conducted across Britain. The research will include 15,000 men and women, randomly selected, aged between 16-74, across all races, religions and walks of life.

    Professor Anne Johnson, Director of the UCL Division of Population Health, said: "The 1990 and 2000 NATSAL surveys provided a wealth of information on sexual lifestyles, the risk of sexually transmitted infections, as well as the use and preferences for sexual health services.

    "The data have been widely used to guide policy for sexual health education and services in Britain. We are delighted at the award of the funding for and hope the 2010 survey will help improve sexual health promotion and treatment services."

    The research is funded by the Medical Research Council, the Wellcome Trust, the Economic & Social Research Council and the Department of Health.

    A spokesperson from the MRC said: "Improving sexual health status is a national public health priority and this latest research will help to inform and evaluate interventions designed to achieve this goal.

    "This time the survey will explore sexual wellbeing and not just ill-health, and help to understand the relationship between physical and sexual health throughout the life course."

    The research team will comprise researchers based at UCL, the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) with collaborators from the Health Protection Agency and University of Manchester joining the team to study new areas.

    While the 2010 survey will be based on the methods established in the previous surveys to allow comparisons to be made, it will also involve a number of new elements. As well as extending the age range, the survey will include anonymised biological data on sexually transmitted infections and sex hormone levels.

    It will also aim to understand human behaviour by adding a 'qualitative' component to the study. The research team will use self-completion computer technology that allows participants to 'interview themselves' in privacy, a method that has been shown to lead to more accurate reporting, especially on sensitive topics.

    For more information on UCL Division of Population Health and Natsal click on the links above.