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01.12.2012 | Research | Ausgabe 1/2012 Open Access

Health and Quality of Life Outcomes 1/2012

Evaluating the responsiveness of the Warwick Edinburgh Mental Well-Being Scale (WEMWBS): Group and individual level analysis

Health and Quality of Life Outcomes > Ausgabe 1/2012
Hendramoorthy Maheswaran, Scott Weich, John Powell, Sarah Stewart-Brown
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​1477-7525-10-156) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Competing interests

There are no conflicts of interest regarding the contents of this article. This research would not have been possible without support from NHS Health Scotland to maintain a database of users of WEMWBS. We received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors for the analysis of this data.

Authors’ contributions

HM and SSB designed the study, analysed the data and drafted the manuscript. SWP and JP aided in interpretation of data and critical revision of the manuscript. All authors contributed to final manuscript and approved the decision to submit the manuscript.



Mental well-being now features prominently in UK and international health policy. However, progress has been hampered by lack of valid measures that are responsive to change. The objective of this study was to evaluate the responsiveness of the Warwick Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale (WEMWBS) at both the individual and group level.


Secondary analysis of twelve different interventional studies undertaken in different populations using WEMWBS as an outcome measure. Standardised response mean (SRM), probability of change statistic (P̂) and standard error of measurement (SEM) were used to evaluate whether WEMWBS detected statistically important changes at the group and individual level, respectively.


Mean change in WEMWBS score ranged from −0.6 to 10.6. SRM ranged from −0.10 (95% CI: -0.35, 0.15) to 1.35 (95% CI: 1.06, 1.64). In 9/12 studies the lower limit of the 95% CI for P̂ was greater than 0.5, denoting responsiveness. SEM ranged from 2.4 to 3.1 units, and at the threshold 2.77 SEM, WEMWBS detected important improvement in at least 12.8% to 45.7% of participants (lower limit of 95% CI>5.0%).


WEMWBS is responsive to changes occurring in a wide range of mental health interventions undertaken in different populations. It offers a secure base for research and development in this rapidly evolving field. Further research using external criteria of change is warranted.
Authors’ original file for figure 1
Authors’ original file for figure 2
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