Methodology of Natsal-COVID Wave 2: a large, quasi-representative, longitudinal survey measuring the impact of COVID-19 on sexual and reproductive health in Britain

Dema, E. et al. (2022) Methodology of Natsal-COVID Wave 2: a large, quasi-representative, longitudinal survey measuring the impact of COVID-19 on sexual and reproductive health in Britain. Wellcome Open Research, 7, 166. (doi: 10.12688/wellcomeopenres.17850.1) (PMID:37794900) (PMCID:PMC10545983)

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Background: The National Surveys of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles COVID study (Natsal-COVID) was designed to understand the impact of COVID-19 on Britain’s sexual and reproductive health (SRH). Natsal-COVID Wave 1 survey and qualitative follow-up interviews were conducted in 2020. The Wave 2 survey was designed to capture one-year prevalence estimates for key SRH outcomes and measure changes over the first year of the pandemic. We describe the Wave 2 survey methodology and assess the sample representativeness. Methods: Natsal-COVID Wave 2 was conducted March-April 2021; approximately one year after the start of Britain’s first national lockdown. Data were collected using an online web-panel survey administered by Ipsos. The sample comprised a longitudinal sample of Wave 1 participants who had agreed to re-contact plus a sample of participants residing in Britain, aged 18-59, including a boost sample comprising people aged 18-29. Questions covered reproductive health, relationships, sexual behaviour and SRH service use. Quotas and weighting were used to achieve a quasi-representative sample of the British population. Comparisons were made with recent national probability surveys, Natsal-3 (2010-12) and Natsal-COVID Wave 1 to understand bias. Results: A total of 6,658 individuals completed the survey. In terms of gender, age, ethnicity, and rurality, the weighted Natsal-COVID Wave 2 sample was like the general population. Participants were less likely to be married or to report being in good health than the general population. The longitudinal sample (n=2,098) were broadly like participants who only took part in Wave 1 but were older. Among the sexually active, longitudinal participants were less likely to report multiple sexual partners or a new sexual partner in the past year compared to those who only took part in Wave 1. Conclusions: Natsal-COVID collected longitudinal, quasi-representative population data to enable evaluation of the population-level impact of COVID-19 on SRH and to inform policy.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:Version 1; peer review: 3 approved.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Willis, Dr Malachi and Mitchell, Professor Kirstin and Boso Perez, Ms Raquel and Riddell, Miss Julie
Authors: Dema, E., Conolly, A., Willis, M., Copas, A. J., Clifton, S., Blake, M., Riddell, J., Boso Perez, R., Tanton, C., Bonell, C., Sonnenberg, P., Mercer, C. H., Mitchell, K. R., and Field, N.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > MRC/CSO SPHSU
Journal Name:Wellcome Open Research
ISSN (Online):2398-502X
Published Online:01 June 2022
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2022 Dema E et al.
First Published:First published in Wellcome Open Research 7:166
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons licence

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
3048231Relationships and healthKirstin MitchellMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_00022/3HW - MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit
3048231Relationships and healthKirstin MitchellOffice of the Chief Scientific Adviser (CSO)SPHSU18HW - MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit