About the project

In this project our team at University College London are investigating the psychological, social and economic impact of musculoskeletal conditions. Musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions refer to a wide range of health conditions affecting joints, muscles, bones and pain syndromes.

We will use large-scale longitudinal representative datasets to explore how people experience MSK conditions, and the impacts on their everyday lives, including:

  • Psychological wellbeing;
  • Social relationships;
  • Engagement in social, leisure, and community activities;
  • Employment;
  • Financial circumstances;
  • ‘Quality of life’, such as impact of partners and family members, patterns among racial and ethnic minority groups and the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic; and
  • Social prescribing services, an increasingly common intervention where people are referred to a range of activities in their communities.

The Principal Investigator is Professor Andrew Steptoe and Professor Daisy Fancourt is Co-investigator. The project is funded by Nuffield Foundation, in partnership with Versus Arthritis as part of the Oliver Bird Fund. You can read more about the project on our website here.


Our PPI Group

The research team wishes to make sure that the people with lived experience of MSK conditions have the opportunity to shape this project, so our research is accountable, transparent and relevant to the public. Therefore, we have established a Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) group of interested members of the public to help us identify, plan, and design our research.

Our PPI group aims to:

  • Inform the UCL team’s research questions and approach, for example what issues might need more exploration;
  • Provide feedback on findings, including ‘sense-checking’ to confirm they align with lived experience of MSK conditions, and proposing additional analyses to elucidate findings;
  • Advise on the study plans, particularly on the most suitable ways to engage the public, charities and health organisations with the study;
  • Help draft and revise public-facing study materials, including communications from the research team; and
  • Guide the sharing of study results with the public, health partners and policy makers.

This is an opportunity to contribute to important research about the psychological, social and economic impact of musculoskeletal conditions.


How to get involved

Membership of the PPI group is open to those who are directly affected by musculoskeletal conditions. There will be up to eight members in total. We have already recruited several members to the PPI Group and are looking for approximately three additional members. The membership is anticipated to be until April 2025. New members may be recruited to the PPI group at any time, and members may resign their place on the PPI group at any time by informing the research team.

Membership of this PPI group is voluntary but requires members to be committed to attending 4-5 online meetings for 1-2 hours. The meetings will be chaired by a member of the research team. The PPI group members may be sent research material, such as research plans and questions, electronically to review and comment on before PPI group meetings. When members are unable to attend meetings, contributions to the areas to be discussed are expected via e-mail or post.

We consider that patients and members of the public who are involved in research should be rewarded and recognised for their contribution. Payment or non-financial reward in recognition of members’ time will be based on NIHR guidance on payment of fees and expenses for members of the public involved with the execution of projects. Payment will be £75 per meeting, including a short amount of preparation before each meeting to consider key study materials and questions.


If you would like to find out more please email rachel.marshall@ucl.ac.uk briefly outlining your interest in joining the PPI Group. We can then answer any questions you may have about this opportunity and discuss whether it would be a good fit.