The Personal Wellbeing Index (PWI 5th edition; International Wellbeing Group, 2013) is a 9-item self-report questionnaire that asks people to rate how satisfied they are with different domains of their lives. The PWI is recommended by both the WHO and OECD as a preferred tool for measuring Subjective Wellbeing among adults. The scale is useful for monitoring self-reported quality of life over time particularly in non-psychiatric settings.
Validity and Reliability #
The Personal Wellbeing Index was created from the Comprehensive Quality of Life Scale by Cummins et al. (2013). The scale has been comprehensively validated for use among adults across the age range in Australia. Khor et al. (2020) provided normative data for the PWI in a sample of 65,722 Australian adults, showing a mean score of 75.3 (SD = 12.6).
Scoring and Interpretation #
Scores consist of the single PWI score presented as a standard score between 0 and 100. The first (optional) question does not form part of the scoring. Standard scores are computed by dividing the raw score by 7 (or 8 if the optional last item is completed), times by 100. Higher scores are indicative of higher levels of personal wellbeing, quality of life and mental health.
Scores are also presented a percentile compared to an Australian adult population (Khor et al., 2020). The percentile represents how an individual scored compared to peers, where a percentile of 50 indicates average wellbeing and a percentile of 10 represents wellbeing in the bottom 10 percentile of the population.
Individual scores on the PWI can be interpreted using the following guidelines (Tomyn, Weinberg, & Cummins, 2015):
- 70+ = ‘normal’ levels of Subjective Wellbeing.
- 50 – 69 = ‘compromised’ levels of Subjective Wellbeing
- 49 or less = ‘challenged’ level of Subjective Wellbeing
An individual with compromised welling scores (69 or less) is likely to be experiencing challenges to their level of subjective wellbeing, possibly due to life circumstances or current challenges (e.g., to their health, work status, or relationships, etc), or due to the presence of symptoms of mental ill-health (e.g., depression).
The item “Satisfaction with life as a whole” (Question 1) is not a component of the Personal Wellbeing Index (PWI) score and the last item (Question 9) is only scored if it is relevant for the client and a response indicated.
International Wellbeing Group (2013). Personal Wellbeing Index: 5th Edition. Melbourne: Australian Centre on Quality of Life, Deakin University http://www.acqol.com.au/instruments#measures
Khor, S., Cummins, R.A., Fuller-Tyszkiewicz, M., Capic, T., Jona, C., Olsson, C.A., & Hutchinson, D. (2020). Australian Unity Wellbeing Index: – Report 36: Social connectedness and wellbeing. Geelong: Australian Centre on Quality of Life, School of Psychology, Deakin University. http://www.acqol.com.au/projects#reports
Tomyn, A. J., Weinberg, M. K., & Cummins, R. A. (2015). Intervention efficacy among ‘at risk’ adolescents: a test of subjective wellbeing homeostasis theory. Social Indicators Research, 120(3), 883-895.