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November 2021

Insights and Reflections on the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scales (WEMWBS)

Insights and Reflections on the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scales (WEMWBS)
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WEMWBS: 15 years on

Insights and reflections on the Warwick-Edinburgh mental wellbeing scales is a paper by Professor Sarah Stewart-Brown. 

In the paper, Stewart-Brown discusses:

  • The history and development of the WEMWBS scales.
  • The conceptual framework, content and validity of the scales positive focus of WEMWBS.
  • Past and current settings in which the WEMWBS scales are used.
  • Issues for wellbeing measurement and the policy implications.
  • Opportunities and challenges for the continuing development of WEMWBS.

What are the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scales?

The Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scales were developed to help measure mental wellbeing in the general population and to evaluate projects, programmes and policies which aim to improve mental wellbeing.

The 14-item scale has five response categories, summed to provide a single score. The items are all worded positively and cover both feeling and functioning aspects of mental wellbeing, thereby making the concept more accessible. 

The Scale

In this section, you can see the statements and response categories used by WEMWBS, described as:

Below are some statements about feelings and thoughts. Please tick the box that best describes your experience of each over the last 2 weeks.


I’ve been feeling optimistic about the future

I’ve been feeling useful

I’ve been feeling relaxed

I’ve been feeling interested in other people

I’ve had energy to spare

I’ve been dealing with problems well

I’ve been thinking clearly

I’ve been feeling good about myself

I’ve been feeling close to other people

I’ve been feeling confident

I’ve been able to make up my own mind about things

I’ve been feeling loved

I’ve been interested in new things

I’ve been feeling cheerful

Response categories

1 None of the time

2 Rarely

3 Some of the time

4 Often

5 All of the time

A shortened, seven-item version of the WEMWBS scales is also available. The seven items relate more to functioning than to feeling. As well as being shorter the scale can be transformed so that it can be used as an interval scale for psychometric analysis.

Close WEMWBS: 15 years on

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