Overview

The World Health Organisation- Five Well-Being Index (WHO-5) is a short self-reported measure of current mental wellbeing.

The measure was first introduced in its present form in 1998 by the WHO Regional Office in Europe as part of the DEPCARE project on well-being measures in primary health care.

Psychometric properties

The WHO-5 has been found to have adequate validity in screening for depression and in measuring outcomes in clinical trials. Item response theory analyses in studies of younger persons and elderly persons indicate that the measure has good construct validity as a unidimensional scale measuring well-being in these populations (Winther Topp et al., 2015).

Populations

The WHO-5 is suitable for children aged 9 and above.

Normative data is available for some European countries (Winther Topp et al., 2015).

Translation

The WHO-5 has been translated into more than 30 languages. Please see the WHO-5 website for further information on translated versions.

Administration

The WHO-5 is a short questionnaire that can be reported by children and young people and administered in a variety of settings.

Scoring and interpretation

The WHO-5 consists of five statements, which respondents rate according to the scale below (in relation to the past two weeks).

  • All of the time = 5
  • Most of the time = 4
  • More than half of the time = 3
  • Less than half of the time = 2
  • Some of the time = 1
  • At no time = 0.

The total raw score, ranging from 0 to 25, is multiplied by 4 to give the final score, with 0 representing the worst imaginable well-being and 100 representing the best imaginable well-being.

Terms of use

The WHO-5 is free of charge and does not require permission to use.

Further information

Please see the WHO-5 website for additional information and references.

References

Topp C.W., Østergaard S.D., Søndergaard S., & Bech P. (2015). The WHO-5 Well-Being Index: A Systematic Review of the Literature. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, 84, 167-176.

WHO. (1998). Wellbeing Measures in Primary Health Care/The Depcare Project. WHO Regional Office for Europe: Copenhagen.

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