The sexual attitudes and lifestyles of London's Eastern Europeans (SALLEE Project): design and methods

BMC Public Health. 2009 Oct 30;9:399. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-9-399.


Background: Since May 2004, ten Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries have joined the European Union, leading to a large influx of CEE migrants to the United Kingdom (UK). The SALLEE project (sexual attitudes and lifestyles of London's Eastern Europeans) set out to establish an understanding of the sexual lifestyles and reproductive health risks of CEE migrants. CEE nationals make up a small minority of the population resident in the UK with no sampling frame from which to select a probability sample. There is also difficulty estimating the socio-demographic and geographical distribution of the population. In addition, measuring self-reported sexual behaviour which is generally found to be problematic, may be compounded among people from a range of different cultural and linguistic backgrounds. This paper will describe the methods adopted by the SALLEE project to address these challenges.

Methods: The research was undertaken using quantitative and qualitative methods: a cross-sectional survey of CEE migrants based on three convenience samples (recruited from community venues, sexual health clinics and from the Internet) and semi-structured in-depth interviews with a purposively selected sample of CEE migrants. A detailed social mapping exercise of the CEE community was conducted prior to commencement of the survey to identify places where CEE migrants could be recruited. A total of 3,005 respondents took part in the cross-sectional survey, including 2,276 respondents in the community sample, 357 in the clinic sample and 372 in the Internet sample. 40 in-depth qualitative interviews were undertaken with a range of individuals, as determined by the interview quota matrix.

Discussion: The SALLEE project has benefited from using quantitative research to provide generalisable data on a range of variables and qualitative research to add in-depth understanding and interpretation. The social mapping exercise successfully located a large number of CEE migrants for the community sample and is recommended for other migrant populations, especially when little or no official data are available for this purpose. The project has collected timely data that will help us to understand the sexual lifestyles, reproductive health risks and health service needs of CEE communities in the UK.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Educational Status
  • Europe, Eastern / ethnology
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • London
  • Male
  • Marital Status
  • Qualitative Research
  • Sampling Studies
  • Sexual Behavior / statistics & numerical data*
  • Social Class
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Transients and Migrants / psychology
  • Transients and Migrants / statistics & numerical data*
  • Young Adult