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WHO (Five) Well-Being Index

WHO (Five) Well-Being Index

What is WHO-5

The 5-item World Health Organization Well-Being Index (WHO-5) is a short and generic global rating scale measuring subjective well-being. It is among the most widely used questionnaires assessing subjective psychological well-being. 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.

WHO-5 Printable PDF

You can create a free account on PsyPack to access fillable PDFs, manuals and educational resources for the WHO-5

WHO-5 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 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 raw score is calculated by totaling the figures of the five answers. The raw score ranges from 0 to 25, 0 representing worst possible and 25 representing best possible quality of life.

To obtain a percentage score ranging from 0 to 100, the raw score is multiplied by 4. A percentage score of 0 represents worst possible, whereas a score of 100 represents best possible quality of life.

It is recommended to administer the Major Depression (ICD-10) Inventory if the raw score is below 13 or if the patient has answered 0 to 1 to any of the five items. A score below 13 indicates poor wellbeing and is an indication for testing for depression under ICD-10.

In order to monitor possible changes in wellbeing, the percentage score is used. A 10% difference indicates a significant change (ref. John Ware, 1995).

A raw score below 13 (or a percentage score below 52) indicates poor wellbeing.

PsyPack can automatically score the WHO-5 assessment and prepare corresponding tables and graphs.

WHO-5 sample result

Further, PsyPack automatically plots a graph to help you easily track progress over time.

WHO-5 track progress

Sample Report of WHO-5


Subjective well-being

What does WHO-5 measure

The purpose of the evaluation is to:

  • measure subjective well-being,
  • identify depression cases,
  • monitor possible changes in wellbeing.



Type of outcome tool


Assessment modes


Age and eligibility

9 years and above

Estimated time

About 2 minutes


Since the questionnaire relies on client self-report, all responses should be verified by the clinician, and a definitive diagnosis is made on clinical grounds taking into account how well the client understood the questionnaire, as well as other relevant information from the client.

Monitoring change: In order to monitor possible changes in wellbeing, the percentage score is used. A 10% difference indicates a significant change (ref. John Ware, 1995).

The WHO-5 is a short questionnaire consisting of 5 simple and non-invasive questions, which tap into the subjective well-being of the respondents. The scale has adequate validity both as a screening tool for depression and as an outcome measure in clinical trials and has been applied successfully across a wide range of study fields.

Attribution and References

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