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Research LibrarySport & Health

Scottish Health Survey 2018 (amended Feb 2020) – Chapter 1 – Mental Health

By 18 May 2020No Comments
ScotCen for Social Research and the Office of National Statistics
Published: 2018 (amended Feb 2020)


The survey is commissioned by the Scottish Government Health Directorates and undertaken by ScotCen for Social Research and the Office of National Statistics. It provides comprehensive national statistics on public health in Scotland. Chapter 1 is dedicated to examining adult mental health and wellbeing. The research aligns itself with the Scottish Government Mental Health Strategy (2017-2027), with the guiding ambition to prevent and treat mental health conditions with the same commitment, passion, and drive that is given to physical health problems.


The survey employs the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale (WEMWBS) questionnaire, designed to assess wellbeing (lowest score at 14, highest at 70); and the General Health Questionnaire 12 (GHQ 12), designed to assess mental ill-health (creating an overall score of 0-12, with a score of four or more used to indicate presence of possible psychiatric disorder).

Key Findings

Wellbeing scores (WEMWBS) for adults were the lowest since the time series began in 2008 at 49.4. A similar trend was notable on the GHQ 12 scores with 19% exhibiting signs of a possible psychiatric disorder, the highest since the time series began. Those at highest risk of mental health problems and low wellbeing were men aged 35-54, and women aged 16-24, as well as those living in the most deprived areas.


The results from this survey demonstrate the significant challenges towards mental health, with wellbeing and mental health scores at their lowest since the survey began recording. Clearly current approaches are not proving effective, and social and health policy makers might be interested in considering how new and innovative sport and community interventions might be effective.