What is the main objective of ELSA?

The aim of ELSA is to explore the unfolding dynamic relationships between health, functioning, social networks and economic position in people aged 50 and over who reside in England. You can find out more in the About us section.

How often are people interviewed for the survey and who is interviewed?

A sample of people over the age of 50 are interviewed every two years. The ELSA sample was selected from three survey years of the Health Survey for England (1998, 1999 and 2001). Households were included in ELSA if they contained at least one adult of 50 years or older in the household who had agreed to be recontacted at some time in the future. Find out more in the About us section.

What data are collected in ELSA?

An overview can be found in The data we collect section.

How can I access study data?

Researchers can download ELSA data from all waves, including wave 0 (HSE), from the UK Data Service.

If you are in the UK and your organisation is part of the UK Access Management Federation (UKAMF), you can access UKDS via your institution’s account. Find out if your institution is a member.

If you are not in the UK, or your organisation is not on the list of federation members, you can request a username.

Please see further details on the ELSA website at: https://www.elsa-project.ac.uk/accessing-elsa-data.

When are future waves likely to be made available?

Data are currently available up to Wave 8. Wave 9 data collection began in July 2018 and is expected to be completed in Summer 2019. Sign up for alerts when new data are available.

How can I access ELSA genetic data linked to phenotypic data?

Details on how to access ELSA genetic data linked to phenotypic data can be found here: https://www.elsa-project.ac.uk/genetic-data-access.

How can I access special license data?

NatCen, the ELSA collaborator manage this process, you can contact them at elsadata@natcen.ac.uk. There is a fee to access special license data

Is there a fee to access data?

The majority of data are free to access via the UK Data Service. Details can be found on the ELSA website: https://www.elsa-project.ac.uk/accessing-elsa-data.

If you require non-archived variables (eg detailed ethnicity, specific country of birth), you would need to apply to access these and there would be an admin fee for this. There is also a fee to access genetic data linked to phenotypic data.

As a participant of the study who should I contact if I have a question?

If you are an ELSA participant and you would like to contact the study, please email elsa@natcen.ac.uk or telephone a member of the ELSA team using the free phone number 0800 652 4574.

How do I become an ELSA participant?

We currently do not offer recruitment on an ad hoc basis as we recruit directly from people who have taken part in another study called the Health Survey for England.

However, if you are interested in taking part in other studies you can contact our fieldwork partner directly on:



0207 250 1866

Can data be used for commercial use?

We are unable to provide access to ELSA samples/data for commercial purposes. This is a stipulation of our funding conditions.

How should I reference the ELSA study in an academic paper?

The citation for the dataset can be found here: https://www.elsa-project.ac.uk/citation.

And the cohort description can be found here: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-69892-2_335-1.

Ethical approval statement/info

ELSA has received ethical approval from the South Central – Berkshire Research Ethics Committee (21/SC/0030, 22nd March 2021).

Do you provide data in long format?

We do not provide data in long format. This must be carried out by the data users themselves.

Can I access Mortality and/or HES data?

Mortality and HES data are currently only available to the ELSA team, we do not currently have an onward sharing agreement with NHS Digital. We hope to have an onward sharing agreement in place in the future, please check this page for any updates.

What nutritional data are available?

The Oxford WebQ online nutrition module was administered for the first time in ELSA in Wave 9 and we plan on including it again in wave 11.

The Oxford WebQ is a validated web-based 24-hour dietary assessment tool developed for repeated administration in large prospective studies. It is a self-administered low-cost method for measuring dietary intake.

At the wave 9 launch event, there was a presentation on the nutrition module which can accessed here: https://www.elsa-project.ac.uk/launch-presentations.

There is also some further information in the accompanying wave 9 report, which can be found here: https://www.elsa-project.ac.uk/wave-reports.

How do I register with the UKDS?

You can register for an account with the UK Data Service here: https://beta.ukdataservice.ac.uk/myaccount/credentials.

You can find instructions on how non-UK users can register at https://www.ukdataservice.ac.uk/get-data/how-to-access/registration/nonukusers.aspx.

If you have any problems please contact the UK Data Service at https://ukdataservice.ac.uk/help/get-in-touch, their email address is help@ukdataservice.ac.uk and help is available at https://www.ukdataservice.ac.uk/help.aspx.

During which waves have cortisol data been collected?

Saliva samples were collected in waves 2 and 4 and hair samples in wave 6 with a view to measuring cortisol. At present, cortisol data are available from the samples collected in waves 2 and 6, and not wave 4 due to funding restrictions.

Last updated: 21/06/2021