Evidence mapping review of intergenerational interventions

Project outline

Intergenerational programmes and activities, such as buddy systems that bring older people with life experience and skills alongside younger people with the intention of achieving positive health and /or social and or/educational outcomes have been highlighted as potential policy areas by which stronger generational connections and communities could be fostered. Opportunities for social connection between generations in the UK have diminished over recent decades as a result of changes in the way that we live and work. These have been heightened by the measures taken in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19 pandemic)1. Intergenerational programmes and activities may offer promising interventions to address needs of both the young and the elderly. Although evidence suggests that intergenerational activity can have a positive impact on participants, commissioning decisions are complex due to the lack of evidence regarding which programmes to commission and an apparent wealth of options available. 


• To identify, describe and create an evidence map of the existing research evidence exploring intergenerational interventions.

• To identify priorities for evidence synthesis through PPI and stakeholder consultation

• To disseminate findings via diverse media including publication of the reviews in the Campbell Library. 

The project comprises three work packages. Findings from each work package inform the next stage of the research. 

1.    A mapping review of intergenerational interventions targeted at children and young people, across health and social care. The map will provide visual representation of the state of the evidence and will highlight promising interventions that are yet to be subject to formal evaluation. The map will identify diverse interventions that have been developed, evaluations undertaken, the populations included in the evaluations, outcomes that have been measured and study designs used in their evaluation. 

2.    A stakeholder and PPI consultation and prioritisation exercise involving young people, families, and wider stakeholders involved in developing, delivering and receiving intergenerational activities or commissioning children’s services, with the aim of exploring the map and developing and prioritising a series of useful and relevant research questions.

3. A systematic review to address a research question prioritised from the mapping review and consultation exercise.

This project is hosted by Sheffield University and is funded by NIHR Evidence Synthesis Programme Grants (PI: Dr Fiona Campbell).