The Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale (WEMWBS) is a scale of 14 positively worded items for assessing a population's mental wellbeing. We commissioned Warwick and Edinburgh Universities to develop WEMWBS in 2006 to support work to develop Scottish mental health indicators for adults.
WEMWBS is suitable for adults aged 16 and above and also for use at a population level in teenagers aged 13 years and over in samples of over 100.
A shortened version the Short Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale (SWEMWBS), with 7 items is also available.
This page explains the national use, development and testing of WEMWBS.
Warwick University Medical School’s WEMWBS pages provide information on
- uses of WEMWBS
- registering to use WEMWBS
- user guides and templates
- other languages and developing new translations
- scoring and interpretations of scores
- availability of data
- WEMWBS 14 item scale and the 7 item scale.
The user guides include a Practice Based User Guide.
You must register before use, and if reproduced include the copyright statement, make no changes to the scale, wording or layout and include in any report the statement of development and ownership found in the WEMWBS User Guide (external site) Appendix vii, Conditions of using WEMWBS.
You can use WEMWBS data which has been collected nationally for research and to provide population norms for comparison. These include
- the Scottish Health Survey (external site) from 2008 for adults (aged 16 years and above) and from 2012 for children (aged 13 to 15 years)
- core questions used in all Scottish Government cross-sectional surveys (external site) from 2012 (SWEMWBS)
- the Scottish Adolescents Lifestyle and Substance Use Survey (SALSUS) (external site) from 2010 (S2 and S4 school children, mainly ages 13 and 15 years)
- the Health Survey for England (external site) in 2010 - 2012 for adults (aged 16 years and above), and in 2015 for ages 13-15
- Understanding Society (external site) (panel study) wave 1 2009/10, wave 4 2012/13 and planned for waves 7 and 10 (SWEMWBS).
Development and testing
In 2006, we commissioned Warwick and Edinburgh Universities to develop a scale for assessing a population’s mental wellbeing (adults aged 16 years and above). This WEMWBS scale covers both aspects of mental wellbeing - feelings and functioning aspects of mental wellbeing. It was validated with both student and general adult populations in the UK.
Further testing showed that it is possible to create a 7 item version, SWEMWBS. This presents a more restricted view of mental wellbeing than the 14 item WEMWBS, although the scores from the two scales are highly correlated.
You can read more information on this research below
- briefing note on the initial research
- full research report on development of WEMWBS
- journal article on the development and initial validation of WEMWBS (external site)
- journal article on further validity testing and identification of SWEMWBS (external site)
We also commissioned Warwick and Edinburgh Universities to test the suitability of using WEMWBS with children aged 13 to 16. This work, the WAVES project, was carried out in 6 schools in Scotland and England between March 2008 and October 2009.
You can read more information on the research in the WAVES Project report. The validation research is also published in a BMC Public Health journal article BMC Public Health 2011 11 487 (external site).
Information on subsequent testing and research (external site) is available on the Warwick University’s Medical School website.