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The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on people with learning disabilities and factors associated with better outcomes

Project status
Chris Hatton (co-PI) Richard Hastings (co-PI)
Institution web page and
Host institution
Department of Social Care and Social Work, Manchester Metropolitan University (Chris Hatton) Centre for Educational Development, Appraisal and Research, University of Warwick (Richard Hastings)
Team members
PIs: Prof Richard Hastings (University of Warwick) Prof Chris Hatton (Manchester Metropolitan University) Co-Is: Prof David Abbott (University of Bristol) Dr Stephen Beyer (Cardiff University) Dr Jill Bradshaw (University of Kent) Dr Nick Gore (University of Kent) Prof Pauline Heslop (University of Bristol) Prof Andrew Jahoda (University of Glasgow) Anna Marriott (National Development Team for Inclusion) Dr Katrina Scior (UCL) Dr Laurence Taggart (University of Ulster) Dr Stuart Todd (University of South Wales) Researchers: Dr Sue Caton (Manchester Metropolitan University Dr Samantha Flynn (University of Warwick) Dr Tom Bailey (University of Warwick) Dr Amanda Gilooly (University of Glasgow) Dr Roseann Maguire (University of Glasgow) Dr Edward Oloidi (University of South Wales) Dr Peter Mulhall (University of Ulster) Partner organisations: Learning Disability Wales All Wales Forum of Parents and Carers of People with Learning Disabilities Scottish Commission for Learning Disability Promoting A More Inclusive Society (PAMIS) Positive Futures Mencap Northern Ireland Learning Disability England PMLD Link
Funding information (if funded)
UKRI-COVID-19 research programme
Project Summary

This project has three research questions:

  1. What are the wellbeing, health and social effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, including social restrictions and changes to how people are supported, on the lives of adults with learning disabilities across the UK over time?
  2. What actionable factors are associated with better outcomes for: a) people with mild/moderate learning disabilities; b) people with severe/profound learning disabilities?
  3. What urgent issues concerning people with learning disabilities are emerging over time?

Longitudinal data will be collected 3 times in the 12-month project (1 Sept 2020 to 31 Aug 2021) from two purposively sampled cohorts across the UK: 1,000 adults with mild/moderate learning disabilities (interviewed directly via telephone etc by research interviewers); and 500 adults with severe/profound learning disabilities (via online survey with carers). Core data will include wellbeing, health (including COVID-19), the impact of COVID-19 on wellbeing, lifestyle and finances, living circumstances, and changes in support received. Additional questions at any wave will be determined by the process outlined below.

These surveys will take place within three repeated cycles:

Step 1: Collaborating organisations and policy-makers across the UK bring forward urgent issues, and select with researchers additional questions for the next survey wave

Step 2: Surveys are conducted

Step 3: Survey results are rapidly analysed, shared with policy-makers, and disseminated in multiple (including accessible) formats.

Outputs / Expected Outputs

Short reports, blogposts and other summaries of urgent issues and interim findings will be produced throughout the blogpost, with the first set of findings due in February 2021. Peer-reviewed publications will be submitted starting in March 2021.

Project website


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The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on people with learning disabilities and factors associated with better outcomes