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.


This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Cite as

Dema, E., Conolly, A., Willis, M., Copas, A., Clifton, S., Blake, M., Riddell, J., Bosó Pérez, R., Tanton, C., Bonell, C., Sonnenberg, P., Mercer, C., Mitchell, K. & Field, N. 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 [version 1; peer review: awaiting peer review]', Wellcome Open Research, 7, article no: 166. https://doi.org/10.12688/wellcomeopenres.17850.1

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Last updated: 17 June 2022
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