Natsal (also known as the National Study of Health and Relationships) is an important study that helps those working in health care to build up a picture of life in Britain and how it’s changing. It allows them to make better decisions about public health policy, practice and research.

Natsal has taken place every 10 years since 1990 and is one of the largest studies of its kind in the world. So far, 45,000 people have taken part in Natsal.

Fieldwork for Natsal-4 is now complete and no further interviews are being carried out at this point. Please be in touch if you have any questions.

Have you been invited to take part in the National Study of Health and Relationships (Natsal)?

To collect data that are representative of the British general population, Natsal uses the Postcode Address File, where postcodes and households are selected at random, as well as volunteer panels, where members of the public who are already part of existing research panels are invited to take part, as its sampling frameworks. If you have been selected to take part, you will receive a letter or an email from the fieldwork organisations (NatCen and Ipsos). Our study partners NatCen have a list of FAQs and other information about taking part in the study.

If you are invited to take part it’s easy to say no, but we really hope you don’t as it’s important that as many people take part as possible – regardless of their experience – as this means our data are more reliable. We know your time is precious, but our work really does make a difference and the results from previous Natsal surveys have been used by doctors, policy makers and scientists for over 25 years. For example, the first Natsal survey, in 1990, helped us to understand the spread of HIV in Britain and how best to stop it spreading further. More recently, the findings have helped plan health services like the National Chlamydia Screening Programme and the HPV vaccination programme. The results are also used to inform health education programmes, such sex and relationship education in schools, so they are evidence-based.

How will my personal information be handled?

The study privacy notices give you information about the organisations collecting your data and how your personal information will be handled.

For people invited to take part by NatCen (by letter or an interviewer visit to your home), the privacy notice is here.

For people invited to take part as part of the NatCen Opinion Panel (by a telephone call or email), the privacy notice is here.

For people invited to take part by Ipsos, the privacy notice is here.

I’ve not been invited to take part in the study, can I still be involved?

To collect data that are representative of the British general population, Natsal uses the Postcode Address File and volunteer panels as its sampling frameworks.

Whilst you can’t just sign up to take part in Natsal, there are other ways to engage with the study. For example, as part of the development work for Natsal-4 we held an open consultation so people from all walks of life could have their say on the questions that the Natsal-4 survey should ask. You can read the report.

Follow us on Twitter @NatsalStudy for more information about engaging with the study.


What have people said about participating in Natsal?

“I found it very easy to answer the questions on the laptop, and I find it difficult to use a computer usually”

“Very pleasant and enjoyable”

“Very friendly engaging interviewer”

“Easy experience, detailed but relevant questions”

“Interviewer was lovely”

“The interviewer was very nice, very laid back and matter of fact”

“I can see that some of the questions might cause some discomfort to some people, but I think it’s a very important topic.”

“No pressure to answer anything not comfortable with”

“It was nice to be able to answer on the computer”

“It’s so important for people to research this. Survey was really good, interviewer lovely. I thought it was quite fun actually”

“I would recommend anyone to take part in the study. It was interesting”

“I liked the opportunity to have my say and it is important to help”

“The interview was conducted very professionally”