A UK validation of a general measure of subjective well-being: the modified BBC subjective well-being scale (BBC-SWB)

Health Qual Life Outcomes. 2013 Sep 3;11:150. doi: 10.1186/1477-7525-11-150.


Background: The BBC Subjective Well-being scale (BBC-SWB) is a recently developed questionnaire designed to measure people's subjective experiences across the wide breadth of domains commonly included in definitions of well-being. Although it has previously been shown to be a reliable and valid measure of subjective well-being in the general population with good psychometric properties, a limitation of the initial version was that it was developed using responses on a 4-point Likert-style scale. This paper presents the psychometric properties, validity and reliability of a revised version of the scale conducted using 5-point Likert-style responses and tests the hypothesis that the scale measures three underlying dimensions of well-being; psychological; physical health; and relationships.

Methods: A sample of 23,341 participants completed the revised BBC-SWB as part of an on-line open-access battery of self-report measures. Confirmatory factor analysis was used to test the pre-hypothesised three factor structure, and internal consistency was investigated using Cronbach's alpha. Concurrent validity was assessed through analysis of correlations with demographic variables, scores on the Goldberg Anxiety and Depression Scales, and the List of Threatening Experiences Questionnaire.

Results: Confirmatory factor analysis supported three factor structure of the measure in the whole sample and for subsamples of males and females. Both the total 24-item scale and the three subscales had good internal consistency, showed no evidence of floor and ceiling effects and correlated significantly with measures of concurrent validity.

Conclusions: This study provided further confirmation of the validity and utility of the BBC Subjective Well-being scale. The modified version is a reliable and valid measure for the online assessment of subjective well-being in the general population with good psychometric properties.

Publication types

  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Personal Satisfaction*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / standards*
  • United Kingdom
  • Young Adult