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About WEMWBS

The Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing scale 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.

WEMWBS has 2 scales: the original 14-item scale and the short 7-item scale

The scales have been validated for use in:

  • A wide variety of different geographical locations, languages and cultural contexts
  • Many different settings including the workplace, schools, health services and community wellbeing projects e.g. creative arts, gardening and walking groups

Development of WEMWBS

In 2005 NHS Health Scotland provided funding to develop the scale in order to support the Scottish Executive's National Programme for Improving Mental Health and Well-being in Scotland. This involved a review of concepts of mental wellbeing and existing scales as well as a discussion with a panel of experts.

The Affectometer 2 had been identified as the most promising measure of mental wellbeing from a review of literature relating to concepts and measures of wellbeing, but the scale proved to be unsuitable for a range of reasons. Taking the scale as a starting point, new items were developed, discussed and iterated until the 14-item scale was resolved for testing. WEMWBS was tested with students in England and Scotland and with a large representative sample of the general population in Scotland.

The development of this new measure was led by Professor Sarah Stewart-Brown and supported by Professor Stephen Platt from the University of Edinburgh. Dr Ruth Tennant played an important role in the original study.

Panel of experts who developed the WEMWBS Scale in 2007

  • Sarah Stewart-Brown, Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK

  • Stephen Platt, School of Clinical Sciences & Community Health, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK

  • Jane Parkinson, NHS Health Scotland, Glasgow, UK

  • Stephen Joseph, Dept of Psychology, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK

  • Scott Weich, Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK

  • Jenny Secker, Faculty of Health and Social Care, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, UK & South Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust, UK

  • Stephen Stansfield, Centre for Psychiatry at Barts and the London, Queen Mary University of London, UK

  • Glyn Lewis, Academic Unit of Psychiatry, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK