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Uses of WEMWBS

What WEMWBS Is Used For:

WEMWBS/SWEMWBS is valuable for:

  • Monitoring wellbeing both nationally and locally (England Scotland and Iceland are currently using the scale for these purposes).
  • Evaluating projects and programme which could have an influence on mental wellbeing.
  • Investigating the determinants of mental wellbeing.
  • WEMWBS is also used in the context of projects and programmes to enable self-reflection as a prelude to involvement with health enhancing activities.
  • Whilst it is not designed as a clinical tool, it does seem to be sensitive to changes in mental wellbeing at the individual level. WEMWBS is available for this purpose on NHS Direct and other public access databases where scores are interpreted to offer clinical advice.

What WEMWBS IS Not Used For:

WEMWBS was not designed as a screening instrument to detect mental illness and is not recommended for use in this context. However, very low scores may be indicative of the need for clinical support.

WEMWBS scores have been benchmarked against Centre for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (1) Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (2), the Patient Health Questionnaire (3) and against the Association of University and College Counselling Scale (4). Correlations with all these scales are high, but precise equivalent cut points are difficult to define.

WEMWBS does not provide a cut point to signify mental wellbeing. The present state of knowledge and understanding of mental wellbeing is not sufficient to enable this at present. It is both desirable and expected that mental wellbeing will improve across the entire spectrum of the population, both the top and bottom end. It is therefore inappropriate to develop a cut point which represents the optimum. In due course as public understanding of mental wellbeing develops the scale is likely to need updating extending the range of optimum scores.

  1. Radloff, L. (1997). "The CES-D scale A self-report depression scale for research in the general population." Applied Psychological Measurement 1: 385-401.
  2. Cox J, H. J., Sagovsky R (1987). "Detection of post natal depression. Development of the 10 items EPDS " Br. J. Psychiatry 150: 782-786.
  3. Kroenke, K., et al. (2001). "The PHQ-9." Journal of General Internal Medicine 16(9): 606-613.
  4. Association of University and College Counselling Scale (2009).