Remembering My Hat

23rd August 2012

NATSAL and older people

One of the difficulties of writing about sex in later life from a UK perspective is the lack of systematic, population-level data. In particular, older people have been excluded, to a greater or lesser extent, from the three existing waves of the National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (NATSAL)

This is one of those background facts that I keep using whenever I’m writing about later life sex, but I always find it difficult to check out exactly which waves had which age limits. So I am going to collect it here, for my own future reference, and in case it is useful for anyone else.

(cc) Peter Kaminski

NATSAL I was carried out in 1990. It sampled people aged 16-59

NATSAL II was carried out in 2000. It sampled people aged 16-44  ‘in order to focus survey resources on a group at greater risk‘ though how you know who is at greatest risk if you haven’t surveyed anyone over 60 to start with, I don’t know…

NATSAL III is being carried out between 2008 and 2013.  It will sample people aged 16-74. Two cheers.

I hope there is a NATSAL IV. I’m not a statistician or a survey-expert, so I realise there may be technical reasons why you need to put an upper age limit, to do, I imagine, with getting enough respondents for the findings to be generalisable. But surely there must be ways round that? The danger of putting an upper age limit is that is suggests that sex is not something of relevance to older people.

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