Previous Research Studies

Below, you will find some summary information about our previous research studies, dating from 1987-2020. Please note that the individual study websites are legacy sites and may not have been kept up to date. More up-to-date information may be obtained by getting in touch with their respective contacts whose email addresses are found below.  

Adolescent Lifestyles In Contemporary Europe (ALICE)

The Scottish 'Adolescent Lifestyles In Contemporary Europe' ('ALICE') project was part of a larger, European-wide project called 'Smoking in Movies', led by colleagues in Kiel, Germany. One of the aims of that project, which took place in six countries, was to study of the impact of exposure to smoking in films on European adolescents. In order to do that, surveys were conducted in 2010 with 2,000-3,000 school pupils in Scotland and each of the five other countries (Germany, Iceland, Italy, the Netherlands and Poland), with a follow-up of the same pupils a year later. In order to collect the Scottish data for 'ALICE', we surveyed pupils in the first three years of secondary education (Scottish Secondary 1-3 – S1-S3, aged 12-14) in seven schools in Scotland's central belt in 2010 and followed them up in 2011.

The ‘European’ survey included questions on basic demographics, self-descriptors, smoking and drinking. It also asked whether or not each pupil had seen a sample of 50 films randomly selected from 250 country-specific box office hits; researchers had carefully watched and analysed all these films and estimated how many smoking images they included. Some extra ‘Scottish’ specific health and lifestyle questions were included at the end of the questionnaire in order not to contaminate the ‘European’ items. There were 2937 participants. 

To learn more, including documentation (which may include further details of aims, methods, questionnaires or reports), please see the study website: http://alice.sphsu.mrc.ac.uk/

Data Sharing: researchers from outside the MRC Social & Public Health Sciences Unit may apply to Helen Sweeting for permission to access specified sections of the data for particular analysis, in collaboration with one or more members of the study team. Email Helen.Sweeting@glasgow.ac.uk for further information.

The SPHSU contact for this study is Dr Helen Sweeting.


Determinants of Adolescent Social well-being and Health (DASH)

We are interested in how different aspects of life, such as physical growth and family life, affect the health of young people from different ethnic backgrounds.

DASH began in 2002/2003. Over 6,500 young people aged 11-13 years took part from 51 schools spread across 10 London boroughs (Brent, Croydon, Hackney, Hammersmith & Fulham, Haringey, Lambeth, Newham, Southwark, Waltham Forest and Wandsworth). These areas were selected to ensure that young people from a range of ethnic backgrounds were included.

In 2005/ 2006, we went back to the schools to see if there had been any changes in the health and well-being of those young people, then aged 14-16.

In 2010 we started getting in touch with people who had taken part in the first two waves of DASH when they were at school to try and find as many as possible. In 2012 we began a feasibility study to see how best to follow up participants as young adults. The feasibility study finished at the end of March 2014 and over 650 participants, aged 21-23, were seen. The International Journal of Epidemiology cohort profile for the study is available at https://academic.oup.com/ije/article/36/3/512/656567

To learn more, including documentation (which may include further details of aims, methods, questionnaires or reports), please see the study website: http://dash.sphsu.mrc.ac.uk/

Data Sharing: we are committed to maximizing the use of DASH data to advance knowledge to improve human health and welcome proposals for collaborative projects from bona fide researchers. Our data sharing policy reflects the MRC guidance on data sharing. We have developed this data sharing policy with the aim of making data as widely and freely available as possible while safeguarding the privacy of participants, protecting confidential data, and maintaining the reputation of the study. Email seeromanie.harding@kcl.ac.uk for further information. 

The SPHSU contact for this study is Dr Oarabile Molaodi


Gay Men's Sexual Health Survey

The MRC Gay Men's Sexual Health Survey, Scotland was led by Lisa McDaid, former Programme Leader for Relationships and for Sexual Health at the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow. The survey was conducted with gay and bisexual men in bars and saunas in Glasgow and Edinburgh every three years from 1996 to 2014. Men who took part were asked to complete a short, anonymous questionnaire about their recent sexual behaviour and sexual health service use. From 2005-2014, we also collected oral fluid samples to be tested anonymously for HIV. This allowed us to estimate HIV prevalence and undiagnosed infection among the gay and bisexual men who took part. The 2014 survey also tested for Hepatitis C.

This survey provided important data on the sexual health of gay and bisexual men in Scotland. It captured valuable information from men who do not regularly attend sexual health clinics and provided a snapshot of men 'on the gay scene' in Scotland. The final survey took place in 2014. There were 12622 participants, aged between 15 and 83 years old. 

To learn more, including documentation (which may include further details of aims, methods, questionnaires or reports), please see the study website: http://gaymensurvey.sphsu.mrc.ac.uk 

Data Sharing: we are committed to maximizing the use of the MRC Gay Men's Sexual Health Survey, Scotland to advance knowledge and improve sexual health. We welcome proposals for collaborative projects and data sharing. Find out more on the data sharing page on our study website. Email Lisa.Mcdaid@glasgow.ac.uk

The SPHSU contact for this study is Study Director Professor Lisa McDaid


Peers and Levels of Stress (PaLS)

The Peers and Levels of Stress (‘PaLS’) Study was set up to investigate links between pupils’ peer group status and levels of stress, and the relationships which these both had with mental health and health behaviours like smoking. The study had a particular focus on peer group hierarchies and was just as interested in the consequences of being at the top of the ‘pecking order’ (e.g. popular or influential) as on the effects of being at the bottom (e.g. being bullied or isolated). This was the first time such a study had been undertaken in the UK. The study surveyed pupils in the final year of statutory education (Scottish Secondary 4 – S4, aged 15) in 22 schools in and around Glasgow City between January and March 2006. There were 3194 participants. 

To learn more, including documentation (which may include further details of aims, methods, questionnaires or reports), please see the study website: http://pals.sphsu.mrc.ac.uk/ 

Data Sharing: researchers from outside the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit may apply for permission to access specified sections of the data for particular analysis, in collaboration with one or more members of the study team. Email Helen.Sweeting@Glasgow.ac.uk for further information.

The SPHSU contact for this study is Dr Helen Sweeting


Sexual Health And RElationships - Safe, Happy And Responsible (SHARE)

‘SHARE' stands for ‘Sexual Health And RElationships - Safe, Happy And Responsible'. The SHARE study was set up in 1994 and involved:

  • the development of a theoretically-based teacher-delivered school sex education programme to improve young people's sexual health.
  • its rigorous evaluation through a randomised trial and process evaluation.
  • primary research on young people's sexual behaviour and relationships and the social factors that shape them.

At baseline, 7616 pupils took part. Participants were aged between 13 and 20 years old. Face-to-face and postal questionnaires were conducted from 1994-2002. Subsequent data linkage took until 2006. The ISRCTN registration for the study is available at http://www.isrctn.com/ISRCTN48719575. The BMJ cohort profile for the study is available at http://eprints.gla.ac.uk/82104/

To learn more, including documentation (which may include further details of aims, methods, questionnaires or reports), please see the study website: http://share.sphsu.mrc.ac.uk/

Data Sharing: we welcome applications from bona fide researchers to share the data in collaboration with the study team. Researchers can contact Marion.Henderson@glasgow.ac.uk.

The SPHSU contact for this study is Study Director Dr Marion Henderson


Social and Emotional Education and Development (SEED)

The SEED Programme aims to improve pupils’ social and emotional wellbeing by supporting a co-produced and bespoke response to school need. It consists of three stages:

1) an assessment of school needs through staff, pupil and parent questionnaires;
2) feedback of these data to all school staff and a reflexive discussion (utilising appreciative enquiry and the use of an evidence-based resource guide linked to potential school needs), facilitated by the school’s Educational Psychologist, to select school-appropriate actions and initiatives at class and/or whole school level;
3) the implementation and maintenance of these actions and initiatives.

The study lasted from 2013 - April 2020. There were 3740 participants consisting of a younger cohort (4-5 years of age), an older cohort (8-9 years), teachers and parents. The protocol for the study is available to download at https://www.fundingawards.nihr.ac.uk/award/10/3006/13. The trial registration is available to view at http://www.isrctn.com/ISRCTN51707384.  

To learn more, including documentation (which may include further details of aims, methods, questionnaires or reports), please see the study website: http://seed.sphsu.mrc.ac.uk/

Data Sharing: anonymised data will be deposited with UK Data Service five years after completion of SEED, 2025. In the meantime, researchers can contact Marion.Henderson@glasgow.ac.uk

The SPHSU contact for the study is Study Director Dr Marion Henderson


Studying Physical Activity in Children’s Environments across Scotland (SPACES)

SPACES is a project that began in January 2013, investigating children’s physical activity in the built and natural environment. We already know a lot about  ‘how much’, ‘how often’, and ‘how intense’ Scottish children’s activity levels are, however, little is known about the ‘where’ of Scottish children’s activity, and how this activity changes depending on geographic location (e.g. urban v rural living) and area level deprivation. Gaining insight into the answers of these important questions can be used in a number of ways, with the ultimate ambition of increasing population activity levels and reducing any social inequalities. Working with Scotcen and the Growing Up in Scotland birth cohort, we invited about 2,500 children aged 10-11 years olds to wear an accelerometer (Actigraph GT3X+) and a GPS device (QStarz) during waking hours for eight consecutive days. The main data collection for the SPACES project began in 2015. Participants: 2162 consented to be contacted; 1096 took part in the data collection. The JMIR research protocol for the study is available at https://www.researchprotocols.org/2018/4/e110/

To learn more, including documentation (which may include further details of aims, methods, questionnaires or reports), please see the study website: http://spaces.sphsu.mrc.ac.uk/

Data Sharing: we are committed to maximizing the use of SPACES study data to advance knowledge to improve young people's health and welcome proposals for collaborative projects and data sharing. Our data sharing policy aims to balance making data as widely and freely available as possible with safeguarding the privacy of participants, protecting confidential data, and maintaining the reputation of the study. Contact Rich.Mitchell@glasgow.ac.uk for further information about data sharing.

The SPHSU contacts for the study are Principal Investigator Professor Rich Mitchell and Project Lead Researcher Dr Paul McCrorie


Transport, Housing and Wellbeing (THAW)

The 'Transport, Housing & Wellbeing' (THAW) Study aimed to examine relationships between health, housing and transport. We were particularly interested in the effects that housing quality and the surrounding environment, and the use of different types of transport, could have on people’s health.

We conducted a repeat cross-sectional study of individuals (N: 4480) living in the same areas of west central Scotland in 1997 and 2010. Respondents were asked questions on their mental and physical health and well-being, lifestyle, housing, neighbourhood, transport, employment, and finance. Altogether in 2010, 2092 adults, aged between 17 and 95 years old, and living in West Central Scotland took part.

THAW 2010 was conducted as a collaboration between the Neighbourhoods and Health team at the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit (SPHSU) and the Department of Urban Studies, at the University of Glasgow. A full desription of the study can be found at
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1353829202000400#aep-section-id11

To learn more, including documentation (which may include further details of aims, methods, questionnaires or reports), please see the study website: http://thaw.sphsu.mrc.ac.uk/

Data Sharing: we are committed to maximizing the use of the Transport Housing and Well being study data to advance knowledge to improve human health and welcome proposals for collaborative projects and data sharing. Our data sharing policy aims to balance making data as widely and freely available as possible with safeguarding the privacy of participants, protecting confidential data, and maintaining the reputation of the study. Please contact Anne.Ellaway@glasgow.ac.uk for further information.

The SPHSU contact for this study is Principal Investigator Professor Anne Ellaway


The West of Scotland Twenty-07 Study: Health in the Community (Twenty-07)

The West of Scotland Twenty-07 Study: 'Health in the community' was set up in 1986 in order to investigate the reasons for differences in health by socio-economic circumstances, gender, the place where people live, age, ethnic group and family type.  The basic design of the Study involved recruiting three cohorts (groups) of volunteers, each group born twenty years apart. Members of the oldest cohort were born around 1932, those in the middle cohort were born in 1952, and those in the youngest cohort were born in 1972. A total of 4,510 people agreed to take part, and have been followed for 20 years. The fifth and final wave of data collection was completed in 2008. This means that when the Study began (1987/8) participants were 15, 35 or 55 years old, and by the end of the Study (2007/8), participants were 35, 55 and 75 years old.  The Twenty-07 Study provides unique opportunities to investigate changes in two ways:  Firstly, to investigate changes in people's lives over 20 years and how these affect their health.  The participants’ ages were chosen to examine critical points in the lifespan, by tracking the three age cohorts as they make the transition from adolescence to working life, through the main part of working life, and from working life to retirement. Secondly, to investigate the differences in people's experiences at the same age but 20 years apart, and how these have different effects on their health, e.g. a 55 year old in 1987 can be compared to a 55 year old in 2007. The International Journal of Epidemiology cohort profile for the study is available at http://eprints.gla.ac.uk/42628/

To learn more, including documentation (which may include further details of aims, methods, questionnaires or reports), please see the study website: http://2007study.sphsu.mrc.ac.uk/

Data Sharing: we welcome applications from bona fide researchers to share the data in collaboration with the study team. Details and application form are on the study website.
Email sphsu-twenty07@glasgow.ac.uk for further information.

The SPHSU contact for this study is Study Director Dr Elise Whitely


Traffic and Health in Glasgow (M74)

The aim of this study was to increase our understanding of how and why changing characteristics of the urban environment (the building of the M74 motorway extension) affects how people feel about living in their neighbourhoods, where they go in those neighbourhoods and how active they are. The study lasted from 2005-2014. 

In 2005 we carried out a postal survey of 1322 adults living in three areas of Glasgow. We then built on that baseline study by investigating changes in travel patterns, physical activity, perceptions of the neighbourhood environment, wellbeing, and road traffic casualties in a follow-up study.  We repeated our postal survey in autumn 2013. In 2014 we invited some of our survey participants to spend a week wearing unobtrusive monitors (accelerometers and GPS receivers) to provide more detailed information about their activity patterns, because we were particularly interested in where people go in their neighbourhoods and how this may have been affected by any changes in their environment. We also interviewed a smaller number of participants face-to-face to explore their experiences in more detail. The mean age range of participants was 49 years old. 

The study was funded by the National Institute for Health Research Public Health Research programme. It was led by the MRC Epidemiology Unit in Cambridge under the auspices of the UKCRC Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR), in collaboration with the MRC Social and Public Health Sciences Unit and the Public Health group at the University of Glasgow, the University of East Anglia, the University of Edinburgh and the Glasgow Centre for Population Health. The Public Health Research protocol for the study is available at https://www.journalslibrary.nihr.ac.uk/phr/phr05030/#/abstract

To learn more, including documentation (which may include further details of aims, methods, questionnaires or reports), please see the study website: https://www.cedar.iph.cam.ac.uk/research/directory/traffic-health-glasgow/

Data Sharing: enquiries about the possibility of data sharing should be directed to Dr David Ogilvie at the Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR), University of Cambridge.
Email david.ogilvie@mrc-epid.cam.ac.uk

The SPHSU contact for the study is Professor Rich Mitchell


Trial of Healthy Relationship Initiatives for the Very Early years (THRIVE)

THRIVE stands for the Trial of Healthy Relationship Initiatives for the Very Early-years. The study has been designed to investigate the effectiveness of two parenting support programmes called Mellow Bumps and Enhanced Triple P for Baby, both in addition to care as usual (CAU), compared with the CAU being provided by the NHS for women with additional health and social care needs in pregnancy. There are a number of parenting support groups that are designed to improve the wellbeing of mothers with additional needs in pregnancy and their babies. This study aims to investigate if this group benefit from taking part in either of the parenting support programmes Enhanced Triple P for Baby + CAU or Mellow Bumps + CAU. We would like to investigate if these parenting support programmes improve mothers’ wellbeing and the relationship between them and their babies and if they are more beneficial to them than the current treatment offered by their regular care team. We are also interested in finding out if one approach is more beneficial to mothers than the other and if improvements carry on over time. The trial is equipoised and, irrespective of the direction of the results, the findings will help policy-makers and practitioners make decisions based on evidence of cost-effectiveness.

Baseline commenced in 2014 and completed in May 2019. There were approximately 500 participants including women who were pregnant at the time of interview, their infants and partners. The age range of recruited participants was 15 to 43 years old. 

The protocols of the study are available at:

http://eprints.gla.ac.uk/191287/;

http://eprints.gla.ac.uk/161102/; and

http://www.isrctn.com/ISRCTN21656568

To learn more, including documentation (which may include further details of aims, methods, questionnaires or reports), please see the study website: http://thrive.sphsu.mrc.ac.uk

Data Sharing: anonymised data will be deposited with UK Data Service five years after completion of SEED, 2025. In the meantime, researchers can contact Marion.Henderson@glasgow.ac.uk

The SPHSU contact for the study is Study Director Dr Marion Henderson


West of Scotland 11 to 16 Study: Teenage Health; West of Scotland 16 Plus Study: Young People’s Health (11 to 16 / 16+)

The aim of the 11 to 16 Study was to investigate how things like social class and gender were related to health and health behaviours (e.g. smoking or exercise) in early (age 11) to mid (ages 13 and 15) adolescence. The young people filled in questionnaires at school at ages 11, 13 and 15 years and nurses did health interviews that included physical measurements including height and weight.  At the age 11 interview, parents and teachers were also asked to fill in a short questionnaire. At the age 15 interview the young people completed a computer-based questionnaire called Voice-DISC that asked them about their feelings and emotions.

The 16+ study was a follow-up of the same young people, where their parents had granted permission for their home addresses to be provided.  There was an interview at age 18-20 and a postal questionnaire at age 22. The aims of 16+ were:

  • To record rates of physical and mental health problems, and health behaviours in late adolescence and to examine how they were related to things like social class and gender. 

The data from these young people can also be used to examine changes over time in health, and the factors associated with health, by comparing them with another group who were born 12 years earlier, lived in the same geographical area and were also surveyed at ages 15 and 18 (the West of Scotland Twenty-07 Study). The study lasted from 1994-2006. There were 2586 participants. 

To learn more, including documentation (which may include further details of aims, methods, questionnaires or reports), please see the study website: http://11to16.sphsu.mrc.ac.uk/

Data Sharing: researchers from outside the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit may apply for permission to access specified sections of the data for particular analysis, in collaboration with one or more members of the study team. Email Helen.Sweeting@glasgow.ac.uk for further information. 

The SPHSU contact for this study is Principal Investigator Dr Helen Sweeting


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