WHO-5 Well-Being Index

About the WHO-5

The 5-item World Health Organization Well-Being Index (WHO-5) is among a widely used questionnaire assessing subjective psychological well-being in research and clinical settings. Since its first publication in 1998, the WHO-5 has been translated into more than 30 languages and has been used in research studies all over the world. The scale has been used most extensively in endocrinology, which is explained by the fact that the WHO-5 was developed in a Pan-European study of patients with diabetes. It remains most popular in Europe. The WHO-5 has high clinimetric validity, can be used as an outcome measure balancing the wanted and unwanted effects of treatments, is a sensitive and specific screening tool for depression. Some studies have shown it to have a sensitivity of 93% and a specificity of 83% in identifying depression. WHO (Five) Well-Being Index (WHO-5)
How to Use:
  • Five items rated on 6-point Likert scale
  • Subjective quality of life based on positive mood (good spirits, relaxation), vitality (being active and waking up fresh and rested), and general interest (being interested in things)
  • Higher scores mean better well-being
  • Available in many language 

How to Score

  • Raw score: total the figures of the 5 answers - 0 to 25.
  • Raw score: 0 represents worst possible quality of life and 25 represents best possible quality of life.
  • Percentage score 0 to 100: raw score multiplied by 4.
  • Percentage score: 0 represents worst possible quality of life and 100 represents best possible quality of life.
  • Score of 13 or lower, poor well-being
  • Clinically significant change is a score change of 10 or more points out of 100.
Newnham EA, Hooke GR, Page AC. Monitoring treatment response and outcomes using the World Health Organization's Wellbeing Index in psychiatric care. J Affect Disord. 2010;122(1-2):133-138. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2009.06.005
Topp C, W, Østergaard S, D, Søndergaard S, Bech P: The WHO-5 Well-Being Index: A Systematic Review of the Literature. Psychother Psychosom 2015;84:167-176. doi: 10.1159/000376585

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