Wave 2 COVID-19 survey content and data

Wave 2 of the COVID-19 Survey in Five National Longitudinal Studies took place in September and October 2020 collecting information from over 25,000 participants across five longitudinal studies. In this section find out about the content of Wave 2, response rates and how to access the data.

Accessing the data

The data from the four CLS studies taking part (the Millennium Cohort Study, Next Steps, the 1970 British Cohort Study and the National Child Development Study) has been de-identified and is available for researchers to download under End User Licence from the UK Data Service. To download the data (SN: 8658), visit the UK Data Service website. The data are also available from each of the main pages for the four studies on the UK Data Service website: Millennium Cohort Study – Next Steps – 1970 British Cohort Study – National Child Development Study.

Data from the MRC National Survey of Health and Development will be made available from the UK Data Service, under Special Licence, shortly. Researchers can also submit an application directly to the MRC Unit for Lifelong Health and Ageing to access the data.

If you are publishing research using our COVID-19 data, please make sure you cite the data and also let us know, so we can make sure we add your work to our online bibliography when published.

A Wave 2 training video will be available in early 2021. Training videos to support researchers using Wave 1 data are available on this page.

Response to wave 2




Millennium Cohort Study (cohort members)


Millennium Cohort Study (parents)


Next Steps


1970 British Cohort Study


1958 National Child Development Study


MRC National Survey of Health and Development (1946 British birth cohort)




Further information about response to the survey and the derivation of response weights is available in the User Guide.

For more information about handling missing data in longitudinal studies, see our Handling Missing Data page.

Survey content

The aim of the survey was to capture how participants’ lives had changed since the first lockdown until Autumn 2020. The topic areas mirrored closely those for Wave 1 although the open text question was not included. Additional questions were also asked about health care, financial transfers, life events and children’s schooling in the summer and autumn terms.

Explore the topics covered below and compare them with the content of the Wave 1 survey. The complete questionnaire is also available to download from this page as part of the documentation for the survey data.

Physical health

Topic W1 W2
Whether has had COVID-19 Yes Yes
Whether has had COVID-19 test & results No Yes
Symptoms of COVID-19 Yes Yes
Self-rated general health Yes Yes
Long-standing health conditions Yes Yes
Whether routine appointments, surgery, cancer treatments were cancelled or postponed & whether rearranged & taken place. Yes Yes
Medication Yes (1946 only) Yes
Whether in defined vulnerable category Yes Yes
Extent of compliance with social distancing guidelines Yes No

Time use

Topic W1 W2
Time use on typical weekday since outbreak Yes Yes

Family and household

Topic W1 W2
Current household composition (household grid) Yes Yes
Children who do not live in household Yes Yes
Changes in household composition Yes Yes
Change in childcare & schooling arrangements (tailored questions, by age-band) Yes Yes
Whether in non-cohabiting relationship Yes Yes
Relationship satisfaction and conflict Yes Yes
Family conflict No Yes
Whether study member or partner is pregnant: week of pregnancy Yes Yes
Number & age of children live with Yes Yes
Care/school attendance children under 4 pre/current outbreak. If attending school, reason (e.g. key worker) Yes Yes
If any children aged 5-16 physically attending school & reason. Yes Yes
Household care needs and receipt of care Yes Yes


Topic W1 W2
Number of rooms in house Yes Yes
Postcode Yes Yes
Access to garden Yes Yes
Tenure Yes Yes

Financial situation

Topic W1 W2
Subjective assessment of how managing financially pre and post outbreak Yes Yes
Food security, use of food banks Yes No
Receipt of benefits (self and/or partner) in 3 months before outbreak Yes Yes
New claims for benefits since outbreak Yes Yes
Use of mortgage/rent/debt holidays since outbreak Yes Yes
Giving /receiving financial help No Yes

Employment & education (FE, HE, apprenticeships)

Topic W1 W2
Pre-COVID19 Economic activity – cohort member and partner Yes Yes
Employment – cohort member and partner
Hours Yes Yes
Occupation (title, description) Yes Yes
Contract type (fixed-term, zero-hours) Yes Yes
Education – cohort member only
Subject of study Yes Yes
Institution name and town Yes Yes
Course length Yes Yes
Current year of study Yes Yes
How learning activity has changed: taking a break, online learning with/ without contact, drop-out Yes Yes
Satisfaction with learning resources provided by institution, and whether has been able to continue studies effectively (0-10) Yes Yes
Whether accepted a college/university place for September; name/town of college/university; whether still planning to do this, deferring, or no longer planning to do this. (MCS only) Yes Yes
Whether has returned to college/university (MCS only) No Yes
Post-COVID19 Economic activity – cohort member and partner Yes Yes
Hours Yes Yes
Work location Yes Yes
Key worker status Yes No
Job satisfaction No Yes
Home working satisfaction No Yes

Health behaviours

Topic W1 W2
Smoking (number of cigarettes) Yes Yes
Vaping Yes Yes
Alcohol (number and type of drinks and some aspects of problematic drinking) Yes Yes
Physical activity (number of days did 30 mins or more) Yes Yes
Diet (fruit & veg) Yes Yes
Hours of sleep per night Yes Yes
Weight Yes Yes

Social contact, social support and loneliness

Topic W1 W2
Contact with friends & family in past 7 days (telephone, video calls, email, text, electronic messaging) Yes Yes
Frequency gave help in past 7 days to anyone outside household affected by coronavirus Yes Yes
Participation in online community activity Yes Yes
Provision of help to others Yes Yes
Social support Yes Yes
Loneliness Yes Yes

Mental health

Topic W1 W2
Overall life satisfaction Yes Yes
Self-assessed mental health No Yes
Control over life No Yes
Mental health and wellbeing scales (capturing depression and anxiety). NB Scales vary by cohort study; see scales section (4.1.2) Yes Yes
Self-assessed change in stress, interpersonal conflict & social trust Yes No
Optimism No Yes

Risk, Patience, Trust

Topic W1 W2
Risk Yes Yes
Patience Yes Yes
Trust Yes Yes
Trust in government & political leaders Yes Yes

Life events

Topic W1 W2
Life Events No Yes

Child Loop

Topic W1 W2
For children aged 4-18 living in household:
Summer term: Whether enrolled in school, school year and school type: whether attended school in person & amount attended; home learning: hours per day, online lesson provision; home schooling help (self/partner); learning resources; effect on academic progress No Yes
Autumn term: whether enrolled in school, details if new school, whether will attend in person & number of days, No Yes
Child’s mental health pre covid & current No Yes


Topic W1 W2
Open question on impact of COVID: the main ways the coronavirus outbreak has affected cohort member’s life and/or loved ones so far, and what they think the effects might be in the future. Yes No

Consent to link to symptom tracker app

Topic W1 W2
Request to download ZOE symptoms tracker app Yes Yes


Questionnaire for Wave 2

Online COVID-19 questionnaire sent out in September 2020 (second wave).

PDF: 802,11 KB


User guide

User guide for Waves 1 and 2 for the COVID-19 Survey in Five National Longitudinal Studies.

PDF: 727,33 KB

Contact us

Centre for Longitudinal Studies
UCL Social Research Institute

20 Bedford Way
London WC1H 0AL

Email: clsfeedback@ucl.ac.uk