Gathering the information
The Catalogue of mental measures is based on a review of the mental health and wellbeing measures in UK cohort and longitudinal studies. Here we give an overview of studies that met inclusion criteria, what information can be found in the Catalogue and how this information was collected.
Cohort and longitudinal studies included in the review
The UK is home to the world’s largest and longest-running portfolio of longitudinal studies which feature large sample sizes, wide breadths of measures and exceptionally long follow-up times. The Catalogue focuses on studies that met five main criteria. To be included in the Catalogue, studies need to:
- Have collected, or plan to collect, data at multiple time points. Most studies in the catalogue are cohort or household panel studies. This means that data were collected about the same individuals or households over time. A small number of large repeated cross-sectional studies, which collected information from a new sample at each time point, have also been included because of the value they bring to mental health research.
- Include measures of mental health or wellbeing.
- Have at least 200 participants at the first data collection point.
- Have collected data in the UK. Most studies in the catalogue have an exclusively UK-based sample. A small number of studies have included international samples in addition to an important British sample.
- Be ongoing. Studies must have collected data in the last two years, be currently collecting data or have firm plans to collect new data to be included at this stage.
We did not include studies that focus on a specific physical health problem such as cancer or diabetes but met our inclusion criteria at this stage. This is to ensure that we have focused on studies that are most likely to be useful to users from a wide range of disciplines interested in conducting research about mental health.
We have identified the following list of studies based on the above criteria. The full list of studies we have reviewed so far can be found here.
Aetiology and Ethnicity in Schizophrenia & Other Psychoses (AESOP-10)
Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC)
Born in Bradford
Born in Bradford: Better Start
British Cohort Study 1970 (BCS70)
Cognitive Function and Ageing Studies (CFAS)
Determinants of Adolescent Social Wellbeing & Health
English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA)
Environmental Risk Longitudinal Twin Study (E-Risk)
European Quality of Life Survey (EQLS)
European Social Survey (ESS)
Generation Scotland (Child Cohort & Birth Cohorts 1 & 2)
Growing Up in Scotland
Health and Employment After Fifty Study (HEAF)
Health and Wellbeing of UK Armed Forces Personnel: A Cohort Study
Hertfordshire Cohort Study
Lothian Birth Cohorts of 1921 & 1936
Mental Health of Children and Young People in Great Britain (MHCYP)
Millennium Cohort Study (MCS)
Million Women Study
National Child Development Study (NCDS)
National Survey of Health and Development (NSHD)
The Northern Ireland Cohort for the Longitudinal Study of Ageing (NICOLA)
Psychiatric Morbidity Surveys (including the Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey)
Resilience, Ethnicity & Adolescent Mental Health (REACH)
South East London Community Health Study (SELCoH)
Southall and Brent Revisited (SABRE)
Southampton Women’s Survey
The PROTECT Study (Platform for Research Online To Investigate Genetics and Cognition & Ageing)
The Whitehall Study
Twins Early Development Study (TEDS)
TwinsUK – The UK Adult Twin Registry
UKHLS: Understanding Society & British Household Panel Survey
West of Scotland Twenty-07 Study
Wirral Child Health and Development Study
If you know a study that meets our inclusion criteria but is not listed here, please do get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Mental health problems in the catalogue
The catalogue details information about measures of mental health problems, including:
Bipolar disorder and mania
Childhood emotional and behavioural problems
Conduct disorder and childhood antisocial behaviour
Gambling disorder and gambling behaviour
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Psychopathy and callous-unemotional traits
Schizophrenia and psychosis
Self-harm and suicide
The catalogue focuses on measures of mental health and wellbeing. As a result, the catalogue does not at this stage include measures of:
- Cognition and neurocognitive disorders Measures of cognition (e.g. intelligence and memory) and measures focusing on learning disabilities and difficulties or neurocognitive disorders (e.g. dementia) are not detailed in the catalogue. If you are interested in dementia, Dementias Platform UK provides information on neurocognitive data in over 35 British cohorts. For a review of the cognitive measures in the British Birth Cohorts, see the CLOSER funded project Assessment and Harmonisation of Cognitive Measures in British Birth Cohorts.
- Personality and temperament Measures of personality traits and temperament are not covered in the catalogue. However, measures of symptoms and diagnosis of personality disorders are included.
- Risk factors for mental health problems The majority of the studies in the catalogue also include measures of biological and social risk factors for mental health problems, such as genes, trauma and poverty, but these are not currently listed in the catalogue.
Mental health and wellbeing measures in the catalogue
We have aimed to include a wide range of mental health and wellbeing measures in the catalogue in order to give a full view of the data that have been collected. Within this context, we have included the following types of mental health and wellbeing measures:
- Indicators of mental health problems
These measures are often standardised instruments measuring mental health problems in adults (such as the General Health Questionnaire) or behavioural and emotional problems in children (such as the Strengths & Difficulties Questionnaire). The catalogue also includes information about bespoke measures and direct questions about symptoms and diagnosis of a mental health problem.Where applicable, the Catalogue also includes questions about the age of onset and duration of mental health problems, and indicators of family history.
- Impairment and difficulties resulting from mental health problems
These measures focus on the impact of mental health problems on a person’s functioning. Impairment measures for adults are often questions about missing work or not fulfilling one’s daily responsibilities because of symptoms of a mental health problem. Meanwhile, childhood measures often focus on missing school or requiring extra support at school or home because of emotional or behavioural problems.
- Treatment, service use and help-seeking behaviour
Understanding patterns of treatment access and service use is relevant to a range of research questions regarding mental health and wellbeing. These types of measures include questions about speaking about a mental health problem to a general practitioner, receiving specialist care from a psychiatrist or psychologist or taking medication for a mental health problem.
- Psychological wellbeing
Psychological wellbeing is an important part of mental health beyond the absence of psychopathology. Researchers have argued that the concept of wellbeing includes multiple dimensions such as life satisfaction, positive affect, self-esteem and quality of life. We have included standardised measures of wellbeing such as the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale and WHO-5 Wellbeing Index, as well as standardised and bespoke measures of life satisfaction, self-esteem and quality of life.
Populations and participants
Most of the cohort and longitudinal studies included in the Catalogue recruited from the general population, while a small number focused on clinical samples. The age of study participants also varies across cohorts, with studies recruiting participants at all stages of the life course from birth to older age. Participants’ year of birth similarly differ widely, from the early twentieth century to 2020.
Many studies collected data on multiple members of a family or household. We have included information about measures of mental health and wellbeing in participants who are the main focus of the study (sometimes called 'cohort members'). Where appropriate, the Catalogue also provides information about measures related to members of their family who are in their generation or older, such as their siblings, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and teachers. At this stage, measures of mental health and wellbeing in participants’ children and partners are not detailed in the Catalogue.
Collecting the information
Information about the measures was collected primarily by searching study documentation including questionnaires, user guides and relevant journal articles. For many studies, this information was publicly available. When this was not the case, we contacted study leadership teams directly to access the documentation required to collect information about the mental health measures in the study. In order to ensure the accuracy of the information in the Catalogue, we asked all studies to check that our review of the measures was accurate and complete. This Catalogue would not have been possible without the study leadership teams’ collaboration and we are extremely grateful for their time and support. THANK YOU!!