Reliability and validity of the Spanish version of the World Health Organization-Five Well-Being Index in elderly


  • Ramona Lucas-Carrasco MD, PhD

    Corresponding author
    • Department of Methodology and Behavioral Sciences, University of Barcelona & SGR 822 Generalitat de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain
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Correspondence: Ramona Lucas-Carrasco, MD, PhD, Department of Methodology and Behavioural Sciences, University of Barcelona, Passeig Vall d'Hebron 171, Barcelona 08035, Spain. Email:



The World Health Organization (WHO)-Five Well-being Index (WHO-5) is a short 5-item index designed to assess the level of emotional well-being. The positive questions of the WHO-5, shifted towards measuring cheerfulness and the level of energy, work in the screening of depression. This paper describes the psychometric properties of the Spanish WHO-5 in older persons.


A total of 199 participants from community centers and primary care centers participated in the study completing a battery of measures: WHO-5, Quality of Life (WHOQOL-BREF), depressive symptoms (Geriatric Depression Scale [GDS-15]), as well as health and sociodemographic information. Analysis was performed using standard psychometric methods.


Internal consistency reliability was good (Cronbach's α = 0.86). Exploratory factor analysis showed a one-factor solution which accounted for 66% of the total variance of WHO-5. Moderate–high correlations were found between WHO-5 and the WHOQOL-BREF and GDS-15 were confirmed, indicating good convergent validity. Discriminative validity was confirmed by the ability of the WHO-5 to differentiate between healthy and unhealthy and depressed and non-depressed participants (as measured by the GDS-15).


The WHO-5 showed acceptable psychometric properties in elderly persons. It might be a useful tool to assess emotional well-being and to detect depressive symptoms among older persons in primary care and community centers.