Next Steps Age 32 Sweep

Sweep details

Sweep status Completed
Dates April 2022 to September 2023
Age 32
Respondents Cohort members
Fieldwork agency Ipsos
Data access Data to be made available for research in mid 2024
Survey mode Online, face-to-face, video, telephone

The Age 32 Sweep involves:

  • 60-minute survey – online or face to face (alternatives to ‘in-home’ interviews will be offered)

The survey covers the following broad themes:

    • Family and relationships, and housing: including topics such as relationships with partners, children, other members of the household, and current accommodation.
    • Employment and finances: including topics such as work, income, wealth (e.g., savings and debts, pensions, and housing) and financial literacy.
    • Education: including topics such as academic and vocational qualifications, and education fees (receipt of student loans, scholarships, grants, or bursaries).
    • Health and wellbeing, and working memory capacity: including topics such as physical health, mental health, health behaviours (exercise, diet, smoking, drinking, drugs), short-term memory and concentration.
    • Identity and attitudes, and personality: including topics such as ethnic and national identity, sexual orientation and gender identity, social networks and support, social and political participation, attitudes and values, personality traits.
    • Childhood circumstances and other live events: including topics such as childhood health and difficult events in childhood (parental separation or death, childhood abuse, financial difficulties), pregnancies and pregnancy outcomes, fertility treatment and pregnancy planning.
    • Partner information: including education, employment and income.
  • Seeking permission to link to information from routine administrative records (if not previously given).
  • Seeking permission to collect a saliva sample for genetic research.

The Age 32 Sweep is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.

Special features at age 32

Saliva sample

At age 32, cohort members were given the option to provide saliva samples for genotyping.

Samples were obtained from cohort members who consented. They were obtained using the Oragene DNA kit. Samples were then returned to a lab at the University of Bristol for DNA extraction, analysis, and storage.

This information will facilitate the analysis of both genetic and environmental factors on various outcomes, such as health or labour market outcomes, as well as enabling cross-cohort comparisons with other British cohorts.

Childhood circumstances

Next Steps started when cohort members were in secondary school, so information from early childhood was not available.

At age 32, cohort members were asked about their childhood, including their health and their families’ financial stability.

These data help paint a fuller picture of the cohort members’ background to gain an understanding about the relationship between childhood experiences and later life outcomes.

Political attitudes

Age 32 survey included several questions related to cohort members’ interest in politics.

They were asked about their general interest in politics, whether they’ve recently taken part in public demonstrations or protests, whether they voted at the last general election in 2019 and which political party and whether they voted in the EU Referendum.

They were also asked their thoughts on immigration to Britain and immigrants’ effect on Britain’s economy.

Labour market relations

At age 32, most cohort members are likely settled into their career. Therefore work participation was retained as a strong theme in the Age 32 Sweep.

Cohort members were asked about their employment or other main activity since they were age 25, employment details, and resident partner’s employment.

Further details were collected to allow for occupational coding to SOC2010, as well as NS-SEC coding.

Cognitive assessment

For the first time in Next Steps, the Age 32 Sweep included a cognitive exercise to assess working memory capacity.

This exercise, known as the Backward Digit Span, involved presenting cohort members with sequences of numbers and asking them to repeat these sequences in reverse order.

Information from this exercise will enable research on identifying factors associated with differing levels of cognition and the effect of cognitive ability on other aspects of life.

Pregnancy and fertility

The Age 32 Sweep included comprehensive pregnancy histories for both men and women.

This included the outcome of these pregnancies and whether they received any medical assistance such as IVF.

Future fertility intentions were also asked for all cohort members. This information provides rich data into fertility-related behaviours of this cohort.

Health and mental health

Cohort members were asked a range of questions about their physical and emotional health and wellbeing at age 32.

These were similar to those asked at the Age 25 Sweep.

At age 32, the study collected information about:

  • cohort members’ health in general
  • physical or mental health conditions or illnesses lasting or expected to last 12 or more months
  • and whether they thought they would reduce their ability to carry out day-to-day activities.

This information allowed longitudinal comparisons to age 25, as well as cross-cohort comparisons.

At age 32 there were further questions about the COVID-19 pandemic, including experiences of COVID, hospitalisation, tests, vaccinations and experiences of long COVID.

Following from age 25, members were also asked for:

  • self-reported height and weight
  • how frequently they exercise
  • their average hours of sleep
  • how frequently they have fizzy drinks.

The 12-Item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ) was used as a measure of current mental health at both Age 32 and Age 25 sweeps. At Age 32, further measures were included such as the Generalized Anxiety Disorder 2-item (GAD-2), the Patient Health Questionnaire-2 (PHQ-2), and the UCLA 3-Item Loneliness Scale. There were also questions on life satisfaction, and personality traits (BIG5, and GRIT scale).


  • User guides
  • Questionnaires
  • Technical reports
  • Data notes
  • Additional
User guides

No material of this type is available.


Next Steps Age 32 Questionnaire

This questionnaire was given to participants of the Next Steps Age 32 Sweep.

Authors: Centre for Longitudinal Studies
Date published: 25/07/2023
PDF: 2,52 MB


Next Steps Age 32 Survey – Content Summary

Next Steps Age 32 Survey – Content Summary

Date published: 20/01/2023
PDF: 159,38 KB

Technical reports

No material of this type is available.

Data notes

No material of this type is available.


No material of this type is available.

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UCL Social Research Institute

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