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A longitudinal mixed-methods population study of the UK during the Covid-19 pandemic: psychological and social adjustment to global threat

The impact of the Covid19 pandemic on public mental health will affect need for services, further progress or resolution of the pandemic and speed of economic recovery afterwards. Policymakers have emphasised the need for a whole population approach to studying mental health during pandemics but no such study has yet been conducted. With initial funding from the Universities of Sheffield and Ulster, early in the crisis we began collecting longitudinal data from a sample of 2,025 UK adults that is representative of the population in age, sex, household income, etc., measuring anxiety, depression, health behaviours, political beliefs and other relevant variables using standardised measures. We have reported our detailed methods, ( mental health findings ( and health psychology findings ( from wave 1. Wave 2 follow-ups began on 21th April. Having established the earliest, most comprehensive study of mental health and social adjustment in any pandemic we now seek funding for 6 more waves of survey data from the same respondents (with resampling to replace panel attrition) beginning Wave 3 between May 18th and March 2021. The survey is supplemented by detailed studies of subgroups using qualitative interviewing, cognitive methods and momentary assessment. This and successive waves will allow us to report timely data on changes in mental health and psychosocial functioning from beginning to end of a pandemic for the first time, identifying vulnerable groups needing help. Our findings are being used by the Cabinet Office, Public Health England and Scotland and the Department of Health and Social Care.

Lead investigator:

Richard Bentall


University of Sheffield

Primary topic:

Health, physical & mental

Secondary topic:

Attitudes, media & governance

Region of data collection:


Country of data collection


Status of data collection

In Progress

Type of data being collected:

Survey (other/unclear)

Unit of real-time data collection


End date



Periodic (other)

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