Wave 3 COVID-19 survey content and data

Wave 3 of the COVID-19 Survey in Five National Longitudinal Studies took place between February and March 2021, collecting information from almost 28,000 participants. In this section, find out about the content of Wave 3, response rates and how to access the data.

Accessing the data

Data from all three waves of the survey in the four CLS studies (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.

Access to responses to the open question (‘Express in your own words the main ways the coronavirus
outbreak has affected your life and/or your loved ones so far, and what you think the effects might
be in the future’) is available under secure conditions, on request to CLS. Find out more about how to apply for access.

Wave 1 and Wave 2 data from the MRC National Survey of Health and Development is available from the UK Data Service under Special Licence Access. Wave 3 data will be available from the UK Data Service shortly, and in the interim researchers can submit an application to the study to access the Wave 3 data.

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

Response to Wave 3



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

This third wave repeated many of the questions featured in Waves 1 and 2, enabling researchers to examine how people’s experiences, circumstances and views have changed as the crisis has continued.

Other questions in this wave were new additions, including questions about the vaccination programme and long COVID. Work and finances, a topic covered in the previous waves, featured again in this wave, but with additional questions on pay and household income. Home schooling, physical health and health behaviours, mental health and wellbeing, social contact, family and relationships, and trust are among the other topics explored in this third survey.

Explore the topics covered below and compare them with the content of Wave 1 and Wave 2. The complete questionnaire is also available to download from this page as part of the documentation for the survey data.

COVID-19, Vaccination, Health and Healthcare

Topic W1 W2 W3
Whether has had COVID-19 Yes Yes Yes
Whether has had COVID-19 test and results No Yes Yes
Long COVID-19 symptoms No No Yes
Symptoms of COVID-19 Yes Yes Yes
Extent of compliance with social distancing guidelines Yes No Yes
Whether has downloaded NHS Track & Trace app No No Yes
Whether been offered COVID-19 vaccine; whether received it and date; if not: how likely to have it; if not likely: reasons No No Yes
How well government has dealt with pandemic No No Yes
Self-rated general health Yes Yes Yes
Long-standing health conditions Yes Yes Yes
Disruption to medical appointments Yes Yes Yes
Difficulty obtaining medication Yes (1946 only) Yes Yes
Whether in defined vulnerable category Yes Yes Yes

Time use

Topic W1 W2 W3
Time use on typical weekday since outbreak Yes Yes No

Family and household

Topic W1 W2 W3
Current household composition (household grid) Yes Yes Yes
Children who do not live in household Yes Yes Yes
Changes in household composition Yes Yes Yes
Change in childcare & schooling arrangements (tailored questions, by age-band) Yes Yes Yes
Whether in non-cohabiting relationship Yes Yes Yes
Relationship satisfaction and conflict (current) Yes Yes Yes
Family conflict (current) No Yes Yes
Whether study member or partner is pregnant: week of pregnancy Yes Yes Yes
Number and age of children live with Yes Yes Yes
Household care needs and receipt of care Yes Yes Yes


Topic W1 W2 W3
Number of rooms in house Yes Yes Yes
Postcode Yes Yes Yes
Access to garden Yes Yes Yes
Tenure Yes Yes Yes

Financial situation

Topic W1 W2 W3
Subjective assessment of how managing financially pre and post outbreak Yes Yes Yes
Food security, use of food banks Yes No No
Receipt of benefits (self and/or partner) in three months before outbreak Yes Yes Yes
New claims for benefits since outbreak Yes Yes Yes
Use of mortgage/rent/debt holidays since outbreak Yes Yes Yes
Giving /receiving financial help No Yes Yes
Amount given /received in financial help No No Yes
Total household income (pre-pandemic and current) No No Yes

Employment and education (FE, HE, apprenticeships)

Topic W1 W2 W3
Economic activity, pre-COVID and current (cohort member and partner) Yes Yes Yes
Employment, pre-COVID (cohort member and partner)
Occupation Yes Yes Yes
Hours Yes Yes Yes
Contract type Yes Yes Yes
Gross pay No No Yes
Employment, current (cohort member and partner)
Occupation Yes Yes Yes
Hours Yes Yes Yes
Contract type Yes Yes Yes
Gross pay No No Yes
Work location Yes Yes Yes
Key worker status Yes No Yes
Job satisfaction No Yes Yes
Home working satisfaction No Yes Yes
Education (cohort member only)
Subject of study Yes Yes Yes
Institution name and town Yes Yes Yes
Course length Yes Yes Yes
Current year of study Yes Yes Yes
Disruption of teaching / online learning Yes Yes Yes
Satisfaction with learning provision / academic progress Yes Yes Yes

Health behaviours

Topic W1 W2 W3
Smoking and vaping Yes Yes Yes
Alcohol consumption Yes Yes Yes
Physical activity Yes Yes Yes
Diet (fruit and veg) Yes Yes Yes
Sleep Yes Yes Yes
Weight Yes Yes Yes
Screen time No No Yes


Social contact, social support and loneliness

Topic W1 W2 W3
Contact with friends & family in past seven days (telephone, video calls, email, text, electronic messaging) Yes Yes Yes
Frequency gave help in past seven days to anyone outside household affected by coronavirus Yes Yes Yes
Participation in online community activity Yes Yes Yes
Provision of help to others Yes Yes Yes
Social support Yes Yes Yes
Loneliness Yes Yes Yes

Mental health

Topic W1 W2 W3
Overall life satisfaction Yes Yes Yes
Self-assessed mental health No Yes Yes
Control over life No Yes Yes
Mental health and wellbeing scales (capturing depression and anxiety). NB: Scales vary by cohort study Yes Yes Yes

Optimism, risk, patience and trust

Topic W1 W2 W3
Optimism No Yes Yes
Risk Yes Yes Yes
Patience Yes Yes Yes
Trust Yes Yes Yes
Trust in government and political leaders Yes Yes Yes

Life events

Topic W1 W2 W3
Life events No Yes Yes


Child loop

Topic W1 W2 W3
For children aged 4-18 living in household:
Education: Whether enrolled in school, school year and school type; extent of in-person schooling; home learning: hours per day, online lesson provision; parental help with home schooling (self/partner); learning resources; effect of pandemic on academic progress No Yes Yes
Child’s mental health pre-COVID and current No Yes Yes



Topic W1 W2 W3
Open question on impact of COVID Yes No Yes

Consent to link to symptom tracker app

Topic W1 W2 W3
Request to download ZOE symptoms tracker app Yes Yes Yes


Questionnaire for Wave 3

Online COVID-19 questionnaire sent out in February 2021 (third wave).

PDF: 1,1 MB


User guide

User guide for Waves 1, 2 and 3 for the COVID-19 Survey in Five National Longitudinal Studies.

PDF: 1,51 MB


Technical report

Technical report for Waves 2 and 3 of the COVID-19 Survey in Five National Longitudinal Studies.

PDF: 880,58 KB

Contact us

Centre for Longitudinal Studies
UCL Social Research Institute

20 Bedford Way
London WC1H 0AL

Email: clsdata@ucl.ac.uk

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