Personal Wellbeing (PWS)

The Personal Wellbeing Score (PWS) is a short generic person-reported measure of happiness or subjective wellbeing. PWS is closely based on the ONS personal wellbeing questions used in the Annual Population Survey, which enables direct comparison with national data.

The four items are rated on a 4-point scale from strongly agree to diasagree:

  1. I am satisfied with my life – this is an overall measure of life satisfaction
  2. What I do in my life is worthwhile – this is a measure of worthwhileness or “eudemonic” wellbeing
  3. I was happy yesterday – this measures current positive experience
  4. I was NOT anxious yesterday – this measures current negative experience. High anxiety implies low wellbeing.


  • Personal Wellbeing: Interim Harmonised Principle. Version 1.1 ONS 2015  pdf
  • Dolan P and Metcalfe R. Measuring subjective wellbeing: recommendations on measures for use by national governments. Journal of Social Policy 2012; 41(2): 409 – 427 pdf