BASHH symposium

BASHH symposium

Understanding sex and sexual health in the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond: Findings from Natsal

Friday 16 July from 14:20 to 15:50 (CEST):

Presenters – Pam Sonnenberg, Catherine Mercer, Nigel Field, Kirstin Mitchell
Chairs – Claire Dewsnap & John McSorley

14:20 Welcome and introduction to Natsal
14:25 Findings and implications from Natsal-COVID
15:05 Audience questions on Natsal-COVID findings
15:20 Methodological challenges of researching sexual health in a pandemic
15:40 Audience questions on Natsal-COVID methodology and Natsal-4

Britain’s National Surveys of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal) have been undertaken decennially since 1990 and provide a key data source underpinning sexual and reproductive health (SRH) policy. The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted many aspects of sexual lifestyles, triggering an urgent need for population-level data on sexual behaviour, relationships, and service use at a time when gold-standard in-person, household-based surveys with probability sampling were not feasible. We designed the Natsal-COVID study to understand the impact of COVID-19 on the nation’s SRH.

The Natsal-COVID study team worked with Ipsos MORI to run two web-panel surveys. Wave 1 was conducted in July 2020 and surveyed ~6,500 people aged 18-59 years across Britain to capture data on the four months following the first national lockdown in March 2020. Wave 2 was conducted during March/April 2021 and surveyed ~6,500 participants aged 18-59 years with the aim to capture data on the longer-term impacts of the pandemic. We used quota-based sampling and weighting with the aim of obtaining a quasi-representative sample of the British general population.

This symposium will begin by giving headline findings from the Natsal-COVID study, including on sexual behaviours and lifestyles, relationships and sexual function, fear of intimate partner violence, risk groups, service use and unmet need. The second half will take a methodological perspective on using a web-panel design to provide actionable public health data during the pandemic and will discuss the challenges and opportunities for Natsal-4, which is due in the field in 2022.