Available Datasets in relation to Loneliness and Social Isolation in Mental Health

Data tools

The Catalogue of Mental Health Measures brings together mental health and wellbeing measures in British cohort and longitudinal studies, as well as measures of loneliness and social isolation.

Health & care statistics for England tool to bring together health statistics from across government is explained in an ONS blog about this new tool.

Available datasets

Our initial scoping of existing datasets has identified a number of datasets that include measures of loneliness or social engagement/isolation/connectedness, together with mental health outcomes. Many of these have already been analysed by network members to answer research questions relating to social connectedness and mental health (including James Kirkbride, Andrew Sommerlad, Ula Tymoszuk, Jean Stafford), and we feel there is further scope to interrogate these resources:


  • Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Surveys 1993, 2000, 2007 & 2014
  • South London Health Survey
  • The Sheldon, Townsend, and Tunstall surveys
  • UCL Bereavement Study
  • BBC loneliness survey


  • English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA)
  • Irish Longitudinal Study of Ageing
  • Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam
  • Whitehall II
  • Millennium Cohort Study
  • Million Women Study
  • Understanding Society (USOC)
  • Chicago Health and Retirement Study (CHASRS)
  • Stockholm Public Health Cohort
  • Swedish Conscript Study
  • Danish registers linked to the 2013 Danish National Health Survey
  • Brazilian Longitudinal Study of Adult Health (ELSA-Brasil)
  • Environmental Risk (E-Risk) Longitudinal Twin Study
  • MRC National Survey of Health and Development (NSHD)
  • 1958 National Child Development Study (NCDS)
  • 1970 British Cohort Study (BCS70)
  • UK Biobank
  • Social Epidemiology of Psychoses in East Anglia (SEPEA) Study
  • CORE Study trial dataset

We are aware that existing datasets will be able to answer key research questions in relation to the links between social isolation, loneliness and adverse mental health outcomes, but that to answer key questions we will need to collect data to test a primary hypothesis. Such data might include qualitative data describing the emotional experience of loneliness, quantitative survey data to describe associations, scores on cognitive tasks to assess individual differences in affective processing biases in perceptions of the social environment, and cost data to model the cost-effectiveness of previously-trialled interventions to address loneliness. In each case the co-investigators leading on the relevant approach will be able to advise on whether existing datasets are adequate for the proposed research.

Government surveys including loneliness measures 


This list of UK Government surveys that include loneliness measures was kindly provided by DCMS in April 2021.