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The objective was to develop a psychometrically sound questionnaire measure of lay people's beliefs about the importance of different signs of wellness (the Wellness Beliefs Scale, WBS). Questionnaire items were derived from qualitative literature. Nine hundred and forty two people (recruited from the community and patient-support groups) participated in two cross-sectional studies using paper and web-based questionnaires. Study 1 participants completed the initial version of the WBS and Study 2 participants completed the revised version of the WBS and existing measures of health beliefs, illness perceptions and health status. Factor analysis confirmed that the WBS measures three distinct wellness beliefs: belief in the importance of biomedical (absence of illness), functional (ability to carry out daily tasks) and wellbeing (vitality) indicators of wellness. All the three resulting subscales had good internal consistency and could be used to cluster participants into three groups. Wellness belief scores were related to gender, health status and subjective health; there were few associations with health beliefs. In conclusion, the WBS is a promising new measure of three distinct wellness beliefs, with good initial psychometric properties, which could potentially be used to better target individualised health promotion interventions. © 2010 Taylor & Francis.

Original publication




Journal article


Psychology and health

Publication Date





271 - 287