Wellbeing is a key policy objective in health and care services. The Personal Wellbeing Score (PWS) is a short generic person-reported measure of happiness or subjective wellbeing. PWS is based on the four ONS personal wellbeing questions (ONS4) and thresholds, which are used in the Annual Population Survey.

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

The Personal Wellbeing Score is easy to use and has good psychometric properties. It is suitable for routine use as a performance measure in patient-centred care and quality improvement studies, alongside other patient-reported outcome and experience measures.


Personal Wellbeing: Interim Harmonised Principle.

Personal Wellbeing: Interim Harmonised Principle.

Version 1.1 ONS 2015

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Measuring subjective wellbeing: recommendations on measures for use by national governments.

Dolan P and Metcalfe R. 

Journal of Social Policy 2012; 41(2): 409 – 427

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