Melissa Palmer


Research Fellow


Keppel Street
United Kingdom

020 7612 7917

I joined LSHTM in 2009 to undertake the MSc in Reproductive and Sexual Health Research. I then completed my PhD examining the circumstances of first sexual intercourse among young people in Britain. I have since worked at the school as a Research Fellow, contributing to analyses of data from the National Surveys of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal). I am currently working on various projects, including a randomised controlled trial of a safer sex intervention delivered through mobile phone messaging, led by Professor Caroline Free.


Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health
Department of Population Health


I teach on the Statistics for Epidemiology and Population Health, Foundations in Reproductive Health, Research Design and Analysis, and Analysing Survey and Population Data modules. I am also a tutor for the Basic Statistics for Clinical Trials (Distance Learning Module), and a personal tutor for the Reproductive and Sexual Health Research MSc.


Current and recent research includes:

1. safetxt: A randomised controlled trial of an intervention delivered by mobile phone messaging to reduce sexually transmitted infections (STI) by increasing sexual health precaution behaviours in young people. PI: Professor Caroline Free

2. Analyses of Natsal data: I continue to work on various analyses of data from the National Surveys of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal), which have been carried out in Britain every 10 years since 1990.

3. Global Study of Sexual Behaviour: this project is bringing together data from over 60 countries worldwide in order to examine patterns and trends in sexual behaviour over time. PIs: Professor Kaye Wellings and Dr Emma Slaymaker

4. Systematic reviews: I have worked on various systematic reviews examining the effect of mHealth interventions on health behaviours and outcomes.

Research Area
Public health
Sexual health
Social and structural determinants of health
Statistical methods
Systematic reviews
Adolescent health
Behaviour change
Mixed methods
Randomised controlled trials
Reproductive health
Disease and Health Conditions
Sexually transmitted infection

Selected Publications

Help-seeking for genitourinary symptoms: a mixed methods study from Britain's Third National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal-3)
Mapp F; Wellings K; Mercer C; Mitchell K; Tanton C; Clifton S; Datta J; Field N; Palmer M; Hickson F
BMJ Open
Prevalence and correlates of 'sexual competence' at first heterosexual intercourse among young people in Britain.
Palmer MJ; Clarke L; Ploubidis GB; Wellings K
BMJ Sexual & Reproductive Health
A randomized controlled trial of an intervention delivered by mobile phone app instant messaging to increase the acceptability of effective contraception among young people in Tajikistan.
McCarthy O; Ahamed I; Kulaeva F; Tokhirov R; Saibov S; Vandewiele M; Standaert S; Leurent B; Edwards P; Palmer M
Reproductive health
Where do women and men in Britain obtain contraception? Findings from the third National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal-3).
French RS; Geary R; Jones K; Glasier A; Mercer CH; Datta J; Macdowall W; Palmer M; Johnson AM; Wellings K
BMJ Sex Reprod Health
See more Publications