The Wellness Behaviors Inventory (WBI) is a 12-item measure that assesses how often common health-promoting behaviors (e.g., healthy eating, exercising) are performed. Vickers, Conway, and Hervig (1990) propose that health behaviours form replicable dimensions that can be classified into two broad domains – preventive health behaviours and risk taking behaviours. Preventive health behaviours include those that should help prevent the risk of illness onset, and those that could improve health as well. Excluding behaviours related to medical and dental check-ups, the items in the WBI were designed to capture the frequency of this subset of preventive health behaviours.
Items in the WBI are scored on a 5-point scale with responses ranging from 1 (less than once a week or never)to 5 (every day of the week). Two items (3 and 10) are reverse scored before calculating the mean. The WBI general wellness behaviours mean is based on 10 of the 12 items, and excludes two items related to vitamin and supplement use (items 9 and 12) which form a separate index of these behaviours. The time frame for the WBI (3 months) can also be altered to suit the application although it is not recommended that this exceed 6 months.
Please note that in undergraduate samples the two reverse scored items (items 3 and 10) tend to lower the internal consistency of the scale, as they may reflect the constraints and pressures of University life rather than the general practice of overall wellness related behaviours. This has been noted in two unpublished data sets from undergraduate samples of 208 and 395. Removal of these two items and recalculation of the WBI as an 8-item scale remedies these issues and results in a Cronbach’s alpha that is more in line with that obtained among community dwelling adult samples (e.g., alpha = .73 to .75). However, as noted by Dunne and colleagues (Dunne, Sheffield, & Chilcot, 2016), results with criterion variables remain essentially unchanged, and therefore it is recommended that the scale is used in tact.
Previous studies indicate that scores on the WBI negatively correlate with perceived stress and negative affect, and positively correlate with other preventive health behaviors, COVID-19 health behaviours. heath behavior intentions, positive affect, future time orientation, physical health, and perceived control over health (Dunne et al., 2016; Ospina et al., 2021; Sirois, 2007, 2015b, 2015c; Sirois, Melia-Gordon, & Pychyl, 2003).
The WBI is also associated with personality traits. In a sample of students, the WBI was positively associated with the Big Five traits Conscientiousness and Agreeableness, and negatively related to Neuroticism at two separate time points (Sirois & Hirsch, 2015). The WBI is also negatively associated with perfectionistic concerns (Sirois, 2015b), and trait procrastination (Sirois, 2015a). A recent meta-analysis also found that the WBI was positively correlated with self-compassion across 14 different data sets, with Cronbach alphas ranging from .64 to .73 (Sirois, Kitner, & Hirsch, 2014), and was found to positively relate to self-compassion in a community sample of adults (Dunne et al., 2016).
There are two English versions of the WBI – one for administration with UK samples and one for administration with North American samples. The differences are due to culture specific terms for some of the health behaviours. The WBI is also available in French (Canadian), German, and Chinese. However, the psychosomatic properties of the translated versions are yet to be fully established.
Please note that we are in the process of writing up a manuscript for possible publication on the psychometric properties of the WBI. This paper is expected to be published sometime in 2022 and will include population norms for the WBI across 50+ student, adult, and chronic illness samples, along with validity data with markers of health such as BMI, stress, and other health-related behaviours.
Until that time, please cite the WBI as follows:
Sirois, F. M. (2001; 2021). The Wellness Behaviors Inventory. Unpublished manual. Psychology. University of Sheffield, UK.
Click here to access the WBI scale and manual. After completing the short survey about why you want to use the WBI you will receive a password and link to access the manual download page.
Dunne, S., Sheffield, D., & Chilcot, J. (2016). Brief report: Self-compassion, physical health and the mediating role of health-promoting behaviours. Journal of Health Psychology. doi:10.1177/1359105316643377
Ospina J, Jiang T, Hoying K, Crocker J, Ballinger T (2021) Compassionate goals predict COVID-19 health behaviors during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. PLoS ONE 16(8): e0255592. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0255592
Sirois, F. M. (2007). ‘‘I’ll look after my health, later’’: A replication and extension of the procrastination–health model with community-dwelling adults. Personality and Individual Differences, 43, 15-26.
Sirois, F. M. (2015a). Is procrastination a vulnerability factor for hypertension and cardiovascular disease? Testing an extension of the procrastination-health model Journal of behavioral medicine, 38, 578-589.
Sirois, F. M. (2015b). Perfectionism and health behaviors: A self-regulation resource perspective. In F. M. Sirois & D. S. Molnar (Eds.), Perfectionism, Health and Well-being (pp. 45-68). Switzerland: Springer.
Sirois, F. M. (2015c). A self-regulation resource model of self-compassion and health behavior intentions in emerging adults. Preventive Medicine Reports, 2, 218-222. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pmedr.2015.03.006
Sirois, F. M., & Hirsch, J. K. (2015). Big Five traits, affect balance and health behaviors: A self-regulation resource perspective. Personality and Individual Differences, 87, 59-64. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2015.07.031
Sirois, F. M., Melia-Gordon, M. L., & Pychyl, T. A. (2003). “I’ll look after my health, later”: An investigation of procrastination and health. Personality and Individual Differences, 35(5), 1167-1184.