The SWEMWBS is a short version of the Warwick–Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale (WEMWBS). The WEMWBS was developed to enable the monitoring of mental wellbeing in the general population and the evaluation of projects, programmes and policies which aim to improve mental wellbeing. The SWEMWBS uses seven of the WEMWBS’s 14 statements about thoughts and feelings, which relate more to functioning than feelings and so offer a slightly different perspective on mental wellbeing. The seven statements are positively worded with five response categories from ‘none of the time’ to ‘all of the time’. Children and young people are asked to describe their experiences over the past two weeks. Although the WEMWBS was not designed to monitor mental wellbeing at an individual level, research (in adults) suggests that the WEMWBS could detect clinically meaningful change (Collins, Gibson, Parkin, Parkinson, Shave & Dyer, 2012; Maheswaran, Weich, Powell & Stewart-Brown 2012).
|Internal consistency||Whether several items that propose to measure the same general construct produce similar score||The SWEMWBS showed high internal consistency in 15–21 year olds in Norway (Ringdal, Bradley Eilersten, Bjørnsen, Espnes & Moksnes, 2018), secondary school students in Scotland and Northern Ireland (McKay & Andretta, 2017), the UK general population (Ng Fat, Scholes, Boniface, Mindell & Stewart-Brown, 2017) and Danish (Koushede et al., 2019), Swedish and Norwegian adult populations (Haver, Akerjordet, Caputi, Furunes & Magee, 2015).|
|Test-retest reliability||Degree to which the same respondents have the same score after a period when a trait should not have changed||
To our knowledge, the test-retest reliability of the SWEMWBS has not been reported for most populations, however, the WEMWBS test-retest reliability within 7-8 days after first completion was moderate in a UK population of 13-16 year olds (Clarke et al., 2010). The WEMWBS one-week test-retest reliability was high in a UK population of university students (Tennant et al., 2007)
|Convergent validity||Degree to which two measures of constructs that theoretically should be related are in fact related||
The SWEMWBS showed positive correlation with related constructs in Welsh (Melendez-Torres et al., 2019), Scottish and Northern Irish (McKay & Andretta, 2017) secondary school children, 15-21 year olds in Norway (Ringdal et al., 2018), the UK general population (Ng Fat et al., 2017) and Danish (Koushede et al., 2019), Swedish and Norwegian adult populations (Haver et al., 2015). Related constructs included measures related to life satisfaction and physical and mental health.
|Construct validity||Degree to which a test measures what it claims, or puports, to be measuring||
The SWEMWBS had good construct validity, measuring mental wellbeing in one dimension, in 15-21 year olds in Norway (Ringdal et aI., 2018) and in a Danish adult population (Koushede et al., 2019). The SWEMWBS has good model fit (Haver et al., 2015; Hunter, Houghton & Wood, 2015; McKay & Andretta, 2017; Ringdal et al., 2018; Koushede et al., 2019; Melendez-Torres et al., 2019).
|Concurrent validity||If a measure correlates well with a measure that has previously been validated||
The SWEMWBS was strongly positively correlated with WHO-5 in a Danish adult population (Koushede et al., 2019).
|Discriminant validity||Lack of correlation with opposite concepts||
The SWEMWBS was negatively correlated with opposite concepts in Welsh (Melendez-Torres et al., 2019), Scottish and Northern Irish (McKay & Andretta, 2017) secondary school children, 15-21 year olds in Norway (Ringdal et al., 2018), in the UK general population (Ng Fat et al., 2017) and in Danish (Koushede et al., 2019), Swedish and Norwegian adult populations (Haver et al., 2015). Opposite constructs included measures related to physical and mental health.
The SWEMWBS has been validated for populations of young people aged 15 -21 (McKay & Andretta, 2017; Ringdal et al., 2018) and the general population (Ng Fat et al., 2017). The SWEMWBS has also been validated for a Deaf population of British Sign Language Users aged 18+ (Rogers, Dodds, Campbell & Young, 2018) and in some clinical populations (Vaingankar et al., 2017).
The SWEMWBS has been translated and validated into a number of languages including Chinese, Danish, Finnish, Icelandic, Norwegian and Swedish. For more information, please contact the developers.
The SWEMWBS is designed to be completed by individuals either on paper or on a computer.
SWEMWBS questionnaire: https://www.corc.uk.net/media/1245/swemwbs_childreported.pdf
The SWEMWBS is scored by first summing the scores for each of the seven items, which are scored from 1 to 5. The total raw scores are then transformed into metric scores using the SWEMWBS conversion table which can be found here:
Scores range from 7 to 35 and higher scores indicate higher positive mental wellbeing. The idea of wellbeing is fairly new, therefore, it is difficult to fully interpret what the scores mean for each individual. However, you can see how individual’s scores compare with national survey data (from adults) which can be found here:
Further interpretation will depend on your study design.
The SWEMWBS is free to use but you need to ask for permission before you begin using SWEMWBS, by completing a registration form on the SWEMWBS website:
SWEMWBS is protected by copyright, the Reproduction copyrights for SWEMWBS are as follows and must be presented on any copy of SWEMWBS used:
“Short Warwick Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale (SWEMWBS) © NHS Health Scotland, University of Warwick and University of Edinburgh, 2008, all rights reserved.”
If you produce any documents outlining your SWEMWBS results (e.g. reports, presentations) you need to reference SWEMWBS as above.
Further information on the SWEMWBS and its use is available from University of Warwick:
WEMWBS Practitioner Guide:
Clarke, A., Putz, R., Friede, T., Ashdown, J., Adi, Y., Martin, S., Flynn, P., Blake, A., Stewart-Brown, S. & Platt, S. (2010). Warwick-Edinburgh mental well-being scale (WEMWBS) acceptability and validation in English and Scottish secondary school students (The WAVES Project). NHS Health Scotland; http://www.healthscotland.scot/media/1720/16796-wavesfinalreport.pdf.
Collins, J., Gibson, A., Parkin, S., Parkinson, R., Shave, D., & Dyer, C. (2012). Counselling in the workplace: How time-limited counselling can effect change in well-being. Counselling and Psychotherapy Research, 12(2), 84-92, doi:10.1080/14733145.2011.638080
Haver, A., Akerjordet, K., Caputi, P., Furunes, T., & Magee, C. (2015). Measuring mental well-being: A validation of the Short Warwick–Edinburgh Mental Well-Being Scale in Norwegian and Swedish. Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, 43(7), 721-727.
Koushede, V., Lasgaard, M., Hinrichsen, C., Meilstrup, C., Neilsen, L., Rayce, SB., Torres-Sahli, M., Gudmundsdottir, DG., Stewart-Brown, S. & Santini, ZI. (2019). Measuring mental well-being in Denmark: Validation of the original and short version of the Warwick-Edinburgh mental well-being scale (WEMWBS and SWEMWBS) and cross-cultural comparison across four European settings. Psychiatry Research, 271, 502-509.
Maheswaran, H., Weich, S., Powell, J. & Stewart-Brown, S. (2012). Evaluating the responsiveness of the Warwick Edinburgh Mental Well-Being Scale (WEMWBS): Group and individual level analysis. Health and Quality of Life Outcomes, 10, 156.
McKay, MT. & Andretta, JR. (2017) Evidence for the Psychometric Validity, Internal consistency and measurement invariance of Warwick Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale Scores in Scottish and Irish Adolescents. Psychiatry Research, 255: 382-386.
Melendez-Torres GJ., Hewitt G., Hallingberg, B., Anthony, R., Collishaw, S., Hall, J., Murphy, S & Moore, G. (2019). Measurement invariance properties and external construct validity of the short Warwick-Edinburgh mental wellbeing scale in a large national sample of secondary school students in Wales. Healthy and Quality of Life Outcomes, 17: 139.
Ng Fat, L., Scholes, S., Boniface, S., Mindell J., & Stewart-Brown S. (2017) Evaluating and establishing the national norms for mental well-being using the short Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale (SWEMWBS): findings from the Health Survey for England. Quality of Life Research, 26(5), 1129-1144.
Ringdal, R., Bradley Eilersten, ME., Bjørnsen, HN., Espnes, GA., & Moksnes, UK. (2018). Validation of two versions of the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-Being Scale among Norwegian adolescents. Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, 46: 718-725.
Rogers, KD., Dodds, C., Campbell M., & Young A. (2018). The validation of the Short Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-Being Scale (SWEMWBS) with deaf British sign language users in the UK. Health and Quality of Life Outcomes, 16: 145.
Tennant, R., Hiller, L., Fishwick, R., Platt, S., Joseph, S., Weich, S., Parkinson, J., Secker, J & Stewart-Brown, S. (2007). The Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale (WEMWBS): development and validation. Health and Quality of Life Outcomes, 5: 63.
Vaingankar, JA., Abdin, E., Chong, SA., Sambasivam, R., Seow, E., Jeyagurunathan, A., Picco, L., Stewart-Brown, S., & Subramaniam, M. (2017). Psychometric properties of the short Warwick Edinburgh mental well-being scale (SWEMWBS) in service users with schizophrenia, depression and anxiety spectrum disorders. Health and Quality of Life Outcomes, 15: 153.
Please note that the information on this page was last updated in March 2020.