Covid-19 Social Study

What is this project about, and do I have to take part?

This study aims to identify how the news about coronavirus is affecting people, whether people are having to isolate, and their experiences of isolating. It aims to inform understanding about the effects of social isolation measures on people’s mental health. The findings will be used to help develop ways to support people psychologically and socially during this outbreak. Participation is open to people over the age of 18 living in the UK and is entirely voluntary. You do not have to be in isolation to take part.

What will taking part involve?

You will be asked to complete one survey now and then we will send you a shorter survey once a week whilst this pandemic continues and social isolation measures are in place. You can opt out of taking part in future surveys at any point by simply ignoring the follow-up invitation. You will then automatically be withdrawn from the study.

What will you ask and what will happen to the information I give you?

You will be asked questions about yourself, your mental and physical health, whether you are isolating, and what activities you are doing if you are in isolation. Some of these questions are considered sensitive data, such as questions on your ethnicity and mental health. We will also ask you for an email address so that we can contact you for the follow-up surveys. However, this email address will be removed from the rest of the answers you give before any analysis takes place and will be deleted as soon as the study finishes. Your email address will not be passed to any third parties. Your anonymous data will then be analysed by researchers from University College London (UCL) and will be published in scientific papers and used to inform advice given during Covid-19. Nobody will be able to identify you from the anonymous data we analyse or from any publications.

How long will my data be stored for?

Your email address will be deleted as soon as the study finishes. Your data will only be used for this study and not shared. Your anonymised data will be stored for ten years by UCL after the end of the research, at this point the data will be reviewed, and if they are still deemed to be of public interest, they may be retained for longer. Again, this will only ever be anonymised data. It will not be possible to remove your information from existing data sets once those data sets have been anonymised, because even we would be unable to identify your data.    


How do I find out the results?

Researchers at UCL will make the results public as soon as is practical. This may be a few months to allow sufficient data to be gathered, for analysis of data by scientific partners to be conducted thoroughly, and for any findings to be subjected to peer-review.

Local Data Protection Privacy Notice 
Notice: The controller for this project will be University College London (UCL). The UCL Data Protection Officer provides oversight of UCL activities involving the processing of personal data, and can be contacted at  

This ‘local’ privacy notice sets out the information that applies to this particular study. Further information on how UCL uses participant information can be found in our ‘general’ privacy notice:
For participants in health and care research studies, click here

The information that is required to be provided to participants under data protection legislation (GDPR and DPA 2018) is provided across both the ‘local’ and ‘general’ privacy notices. 

The lawful basis that will be used to process your personal data are: ‘Public task’ for personal data and’ Research purposes’ for special category data.

Your personal data will be processed so long as it is required for the research project. If we are able to anonymise or pseudonymise the personal data you provide we will undertake this, and will endeavour to minimise the processing of personal data wherever possible. 

If you are concerned about how your personal data is being processed, or if you would like to contact us about your rights, please contact UCL in the first instance at 


If you have any concerns about the study, you can contact the UCL study team at If you feel your concerns have not been handled satisfactorily, you can contact the Chair of the UCL Research Ethics Committee at