1970 British Cohort Study – Life at 51

50 stories
25 March 2021

It’s been a challenging 12 months for most of us. We’ve had to put our lives on hold and make sacrifices for the greater good. 2020 was a momentous year for the 1970 British Cohort Study and our participants as they reached their half century. We had a scientific conference planned to celebrate this special anniversary and were looking forward to the Age 50 Sweep so we could find out what was happening in our participants’ lives.

We’re a year late, but from this summer, we hope to start catching up with our study participants to see how they’re faring in their early 50s. The Age 51 Sweep fieldwork will take at least 12 months. Following a successful pilot, we’ll initially be inviting participants to take part via a video-call. Depending on government COVID-19 guidelines, we hope to launch home visits at a later date.

The survey will consist of an interview, a paper self-completion questionnaire, and an online diet questionnaire. The data collection will build on the extensive information collected since birth and across study participants’ lives, covering three broad themes:

  • family, relationships and identity: including topics such as social networks, relationships with partners, parents, children, friends, neighbourhood, social and cultural capital, social and political participation, attitudes and values, religion, and expectations;
  • finances and employment: including topics such as work, income, wealth (savings and debts, pensions, and housing), inheritance (receiving and giving) and other transfers, education; and
  • health, wellbeing and cognition: including physical health, mental health, medical care, medication, smoking, drinking, diet, exercise, and cognitive function.

The survey will also include specific questions about midlife, on issues such as retirement expectations, pensions, and menopause. This will enable researchers to compare results with previous generations, particularly the 1958 birth cohort at age 50 and 1946 birth cohort at age 53. Study participants will also be asked extra questions related to the pandemic, including on COVID-related employment impacts, and mental health.

We’re really looking forward to catching up with our study participants again this summer, so we can find out more about this new stage in their lives. The information they continue to provide is invaluable, and will inform future important discoveries for the benefit of British science and society.

Back to news listing

Media enquiries

Ryan Bradshaw
Senior Communications Officer

Phone: 020 7612 6516
Email: r.bradshaw@ucl.ac.uk

Contact us

Centre for Longitudinal Studies
UCL Social Research Institute

20 Bedford Way
London WC1H 0AL

Email: clsdata@ucl.ac.uk

Follow us