Cohort Descriptives

Variable Response
Cohort Name The English Longitudinal Study of Ageing
Cohort Acronym ELSA
Study Overview The primary objective of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) is to collect longitudinal multidisciplinary data from a representative sample of the English population aged 50 to 100 at recruitment. ELSA was developed as a companion study to the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) in the USA and documents the experience of growing old in England in the 21st century. The study collects both objective and subjective data relating to health and disability, biological markers of disease, economic circumstance, social participation, networks and well-being.
#Subjects at Baseline Sample size at recruitment: 12,099, comprising 11,391 core members, 636 partners aged <50 years and 72 new partners aged ≥50 years.
Institution Name University College London
Department Name Department of Epidemiology and Public Health
City London
Study/Database Website

http://www.elsa-project.ac.uk/

Principal Investigator (PI) Professor Andrew Steptoe
Key Study References

Please see Literature section

Population Based Study? Yes
Family Based Study? No
Clinical based sample? No
Is there follow-up data available? Yes
Were participants included prior to development of dementia (may refer to controls only)? Yes
Were participants included prior to development of MCI (may refer to controls only)? Yes
How is data collected? Face‐to‐face for core and nurse visit, face‐to‐face or telephone interview for exit interview per informant’s preference. Proxy interviews account for about 2% of all interviews. From ELSA website: All ELSA interviews are conducted face-to-face using computer-assisted interviewing (CAPI), combined with self-completion questionnaires completed using pen and paper (PAPI).
Who carries out data collection? Interviewers and Clinical Staff: Nurses for clinical visits.
Does this take place in participants' homes or at a central location? Home
Do participants take part individually or are families/partners involved? One age‐eligible family unit is chosen per address. Interviews are sought with both members of couples in age‐eligible units.
Dementia cases ascertained as part of study: No
Diagnosis based on review of existing clinical data No
Was diagnosis/primary outcomes made blind to exposure variables? No
How many times followed up? 8
# Subjects at Follow-up Wave 2: 9,432 main interviews (8780 core). Wave 3: 9,771 main interviews (8810 core). Wave 4: 11,050 main interviews (9886 core). Wave 5: 10,274 main interviews (9090 core). Wave 6: 10,601 main interviews (9169 core). Wave 7: 9666 main interviews (8249 core). Wave 8: 8445 main interviews (7223 core)
Study start date 2002
Is study ongoing? Yes, wave 9 data collection, which now includes an online dietary questionnaire, began in July 2018.
Is study still recruiting? Yes, the sample has been refreshed four times now, at waves 3, 4, 6 and 7.
Inclusion criteria Membership of a participating household from HSE in which at least one person had agreed to follow-up. Age 50 years or older. Living in a private household in England at the time of the first wave of fieldwork. Partners who were aged <50 years and those who had joined the household since HSE were invited for interview.
Exclusion criteria All core members were eligible for subsequent waves of the study unless they had since died, had explicitly asked to not be re-contacted, or had moved out of Britain.

Administration

Variable type
VARIABLES PRESENT IN ALL WAVES
Unique individual serial number
Household serial number
Date of birth
Age at last birthday
Year of death
Age at death
Sex of respondent
Date of interview
Eligibility status

Sociodemographic

Sub-category Variable type Baseline 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Deprivation Private pensions   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Deprivation Asset income (by asset category)   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Deprivation Other income (including reciept of lump sums)   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Deprivation Financial assets (12 categories)   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Deprivation Physical assets (5 categories)   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Deprivation Business wealth   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Deprivation Debt (3 categories)   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Deprivation Housing wealth and mortgage debt (including equity release and home reversion plans)   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Deprivation Lifetime inheritances and gifts             Y Y Y
Deprivation Current pension plan details   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Deprivation Date joined pension plan   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Deprivation Current contributions   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Deprivation Self-reported accrued pension wealth   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Deprivation Past pension details (up to 3 past pensions)   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Deprivation Plan names   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Deprivation State pension statements       Y          
Deprivation Knowledge of female state pension age       Y Y Y Y Y Y
Deprivation State pension deferral         Y Y Y Y Y
Deprivation End to compulsory annuitisation                 Y
Deprivation Housing (rent and mortgage payments) Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Deprivation Vehicle ownership   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Deprivation Durable ownership   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Deprivation Durable purchases     Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Deprivation Food in, food out   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Deprivation Fuel expenditures     Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Deprivation Bequest and inheritances   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Deprivation Income adequacy   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Deprivation House value   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Deprivation Public and private pension income     Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Deprivation Self-reported financial planning period   Y Y            
Deprivation Perceived financial position relative to neighbours/friends/colleagues     Y Y Y Y      
Deprivation Risk module (subgroup)           Y      
Deprivation Relative deprivation and perceived financial difficulties     Y Y Y        
Deprivation Subjective social status   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Education Educational qualifications Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Education Age completed full-time education   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Employment Occupation of main carer (when respondent aged 14 yr)   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Employment Earnings   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Employment State benefits (by source and recipient)   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Employment Main job details Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Employment Health and work disability     Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Employment Normal pay and hours Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Employment Secondary and other economic activity details   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Employment Age and reason for retirement if retired   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Employment Employer name and permission to contact   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Employment Compulsory retirement ages     Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Employment Health limiting ability to work     Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Employment Desired/offered/requested workplace adaptations     Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Employment Transfers (incl. charitable giving and Child Trust Funds)     Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Employment Employement   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Employment Health limiting ability to work   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Ethnicity Ethnic group Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Ethnicity Country of birth Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Ethnicity Religiosity           Y      
Insurance Life insurance   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Insurance Health insurance contributions   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Marital Status Marital status Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y

Family History

Sub-category Variable type Baseline 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Extended Living children Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Extended Living grandchildren Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Parents Living parents Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Siblings Living siblings Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y

Early Life History

Sub-category Variable type Baseline 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Birth Children (natural and adopted)       Y          
Birth Fertility       Y          
Birthplace Housing and geographical mobility       Y          
Birthplace Living situation when they were 10 years old       Y          
Childhood Experiences (parents) Jobs and earnings       Y          
Childhood Experiences Health including injuries, childhood health, smoking and gynaecology       Y          
Childhood Experiences Relationship with parents when they were a child       Y          
Childhood Experiences Other important and difficult events in their lives       Y          
Partner Cohabiting and important non-cohabiting relationships       Y          

Physical Health Status

Sub-category Variable type Baseline 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Cancer Physician diagnosed conditions: cancer   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Cardiothoracic Physician diagnosed conditions: Ischaemic heart disease   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Cardiothoracic Physician diagnosed conditions: stroke   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Cardiothoracic Physician diagnosed conditions: raised cholesterol   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
ENT Hearing - self-reported health and difficulties   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Eyes Whether had glaucoma/diabetic eye disease/cataract/macular degeneration, cateract surgery   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
General Health Self-rated general health Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
General Health Long-standing illness Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
General Health If age 65+ years, whether blood pressure checked in last year   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
General Health Falls and resulting fractures if age 60+y   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
General Health Balance, dizziness   Y Y   Y   Y   Y
General Health Urinary incontinence Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
General Health Mobility: difficulties walking 1/4 mile & symptoms if try   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
General Health Dental health - self reported health and difficulties       Y Y Y   Y  
General Health Physician diagnosed conditions: diabetes   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
General Health Sense of taste and smell                 Y
Pain Pain: overall rating (mild/mod/severe) for back   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Pain Pain: overall rating (mild/mod/severe) for hip   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Pain Pain: overall rating (mild/mod/severe) for knees   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Respiratory Physician diagnosed conditions: chronic lung disease   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Respiratory Physician diagnosed conditions: asthma   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Rheumatology Physician diagnosed conditions: arthritis   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Rheumatology Physician diagnosed conditions: osteoporosis   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y

Reproductive History

Sub-category Variable type Baseline 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Female Menopause         Y Y Y   Y

Healthcare Utilisation

Sub-category Variable type Baseline 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Community Care Movement into nursing home     Y       Y Y Y
Community Care Future housing and care needs             Y Y Y
Community Care Short stays in residential/nursing homes                 Y
Community Care Age 65+y: whether use meals on wheels, day centres, lunch clubs   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Community Care Quality of care, psychiatric and emotional problems   Y Y Y Y        
Community Care Accessing local amenities and services   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Community Care Social support Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Hospitalisation Hip and knee replacements received, quality of care   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Hospitalisation Quality of care (falls & fractures)   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Hospitalisation Cancer screening participation           Y Y Y Y
Medications Polypharmacy             Y   Y

Life Functionality

Sub-category Variable type Baseline 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Assistive devices Disabilities: Mobility problems   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Assistive devices Aids used   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Assistive devices Sources of help   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Daily Living ADLS and IADLS   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y

Psychological Status

Sub-category Variable type Baseline 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Personality Personality           Y      
Quality of life Experience and perceptions of ageing         Y        
Quality of life Sense of collectiveness         Y        
Quality of life Quality of life (CASP-19)   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Quality of life Positive affect           Y      
Quality of life Control and demand   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Sleep Sleep disturbance         Y   Y   Y
Well being Altruism         Y        
Well being Satisfaction With Life Scale-SWLS (Diener)   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Well being Ryff well-being scale     Y            
Well being Perceived wellbeing yesterday             Y Y Y
Well being ONS harmonised 4 questions on wellbeing             Y Y Y
Well being Social isolation/loneliness     Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Well being Effort-reward balance     Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Well being Self-perceived and desired ages     Y   Y     Y Y
Well being Lifetime desires and experiences             Y   Y
Well being Health preference and attitudes to risk                 Y

Mental Health Status

Sub-category Variable type Baseline 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Abuse Perceived discrimination           Y      
Mood CES-D depression scale   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Mood Psychiatric and emotional problems   Y Y Y Y        
Mood General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12) Y Y   Y          

Cognitive Status

Sub-category Variable type Baseline 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Alzheimer's Physician diagnosed conditions: Alzheimers   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Dementia Physician diagnosed conditions: dementia   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Parkinson's Physician diagnosed conditions: Parkinson's disease   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y

Lifestyle

Sub-category Variable type Baseline 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Alcohol Alcohol consumption: usual frequency, heaviest consumption day last week Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Diet Consumption of fruit and vegetables       Y Y Y Y Y Y
Leisure Leisure consumption     Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Leisure Clothing consumption     Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Leisure Informal care giving   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Leisure Volunteering   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Leisure Provision of unpaid help         Y Y Y Y Y
Leisure Pet ownership           Y      
Leisure Proximity to children                 Y
Leisure Time spent caring for grandchildren                 Y
Physical Physical activity: frequency do vigorous/ moderate/ mild exercise; whether job sedentary or physically active Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Sexual Attitudes to sex             Y   Y
Sexual Current sexual activities and expereinces             Y   Y
Sexual Sexual partners             Y   Y
Smoking Smoking history, quality of care for cessation Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Travel Transport   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y

Physical Environment

Sub-category Variable type Baseline 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Housing Household membership Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Housing Changes in household membership   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Housing Satisfaction with housing and area           Y Y Y Y
Housing Moving house     Y            
Housing Neighbourhood perceptions               Y  

Social Environment

Sub-category Variable type Baseline 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Life events Civic, social and cultural participation   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Life events Ages at which middle age ends and old age begins   Y   Y       Y Y
Life events Experiences of being mentored                 Y
Life events Generativity (passing skills/experience to younger generations)                 Y
Multi media TV watching         Y Y Y Y Y
Multi media Digital inclusion             Y Y Y
Social media Social networks   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y

Physical Examination

Sub-category Variable type Baseline 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Anthropometry Perceived weight                 Y
Anthropometry Height Y   Y   Y   Y    
Anthropometry Weight Y   Y   Y   Y   Y
Ear Hear-check test               Y  
Heart Diagnositc symptom assessments: Rose Angina Y Y Y Y Y Y      
Heart Blood pressure Y   Y   Y   Y   Y
Lung Diagnositc symptom assessments: MRC Respiratory Questionnaire                  
Lung Lung function Y   Y   Y   Y    
Movement Edinburgh Claudication Questionnaire       Y   Y Y    
Movement Chair stands; Balance     Y   Y   Y    
Movement Walking speed performance test (≥60 years)   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Strength Grip strength     Y   Y   Y   Y

Linkage Data

Sub-category Variable type Baseline 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Death register Mortality (status from ONS)   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
HSE HSE source survey year Y                

Biosample Assays

Sub-category Variable type Baseline 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Biochemistry Cortisol (from saliva)     Y   Y        
Biochemistry Cortisol (from hair)             Y   Y
Haematology Triglycerides Y   Y   Y   Y   Y
Haematology Total and DHL-cholesterol Y   Y   Y   Y   Y
Haematology C-reactive protein, fibrinogen Y   Y   Y   Y   Y
Haematology Haemoglobin and ferritin Y   Y   Y   Y   Y
Haematology White blood cell count         Y   Y   Y
Haematology Fasting lipids, glucose, glycated haemoglobin     Y   Y   Y   Y
Haematology IgE/ DHM IgE Y                
Haematology IGF-1         Y   Y   Y
Haematology DHEAS         Y   Y   Y
Haematology Vitamin D         Y   Y   Y

Digital Phenotyping

Sub-category Variable type Baseline 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Cognitive performance Self-rated memory   Y Y Y Y     Y Y
Cognitive performance Orientation in time   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Cognitive performance Word-list learning (verbal learning and recall)   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Cognitive performance Prospective memory   Y Y Y Y Y     Y
Cognitive performance Number series             Y   Y
Cognitive performance Word-finding (verbal fluency)   Y Y Y Y Y   Y Y
Cognitive performance Letter cancellation (accuracy and speed of mental processing)   Y Y Y Y Y      
Cognitive performance Backwards counting               Y Y
Cognitive performance Serial 7s               Y Y
Cognitive performance Object naming               Y Y
Cognitive performance Numerical ability   Y     Y   Y Y Y
Cognitive performance Literacy     Y     Y Y Y Y
Cognitive performance Quality of cognitive interview (interviewer's assessment)   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Cognitive performance Proxy interview of cognitive funcitoning - IQCODE scale     Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Social behaviour Social capital   Y   Y          

Genomics

Variable type
DNA extraction and storage
RNA Paxgene tubes
Genome wide microarray assay on around 8000 ELSA participants in 2013/14 with the Illumina Omni 2.5-8 chip
Genotyping in a number of specific candidate SNPs and variable number tandem repeats (VNTRs) on 6,000 participants - including Illumina bundle of 1,536 SNPs in 3,300 participants