The Spiritual Well-Being Ques­tionnaire (SWB) is a multidimensional as­sessment tool useful for evaluating religios­ity in terms of spiritual growth and maturity from a wholistic perspective. The concep­tual basis of the SWB consists of one's rela­tionship with God, self, community, and en­vironment.


The instrument is comprehen­sive because it includes individual items pertaining to social attitudes, self-percep­tions, theological orientation, religious be­liefs, opinions, experiences, preferences, af­ filiations, and various charitable endeavors. In developing this instrument, Moberg at­ tempted to address the following require­ments for a useful measure of spiritual well­ being. These consist of:

  1. A need for an instrument in evaluation re­ search to plan activities and monitor progress in religious groups and organiza­tions (Moberg, 1980)
  2. A concern for the measuring the vital signs of a healthy church (Wagner, 1976)
  3. A concern for addressing issues related to church growth and decline (Kelley, 1977; Hoge & Roozen, 1979)
  4. An interest in evaluating the intensity of faith (Wagner & Johnson, 1977)

Initially, Moberg instituted a survey study to gather data used for constructing the SWB Questionnaire. From the data gathered, an 82-item instrument was con­ structed consisting of 6-point Likert scale statements, matrix questions, multiple choice questions, and self-identifying infor­mation through four major parts of the questionnaire. Through personal correspondence, the author states that all four parts of the questionnaire are "indicators, reflectors, or aspects of 'spiritual well-being' but not necessarily 'measures' of it (Moberg, per­sonal communication, January 5, 1995). Items pertain to social attitudes, self-per­ceptions, theological orientation, and activities serving others in charitable, political, and religious contexts. Also included are religious beliefs, Christian doctrine, opin­ions, experiences, preferences, and affilia­tions. Scoring is somewhat complex and is explained in this voluneat the end of the instrument.

Moberg (1984) identifies 13 different scales and indices.

  • Existential Well-Being Scale (from Elli­ son & Paloutzian, 1982)
  • Part I: 5, 6, 12, 15, 17, 25, 27, 29, 32, 34
  • Religious Well-Being Scale (from Ellison
  • & Paloutzian, 1982)
  • Part I: 4, 6, 8, 14, 16, 18, 26, 28, 31, 33
  • Internal Well-Being Scale (from Farm­ ham, 1979)
  • Part III: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
  • Christian Faith Index
  • Part I: 19,20, 21, 24, 35,47,49
  • Part IV: 15
  • Self Satisfaction Index Part I: 1, 3, 13, 22, 46
  • Personal Piety Index
  • Part IV: 9, 10, 11, 13, 14
  • Subjective Spiritual Well-Being Index Part I: 36,37,38, 39
  • Optimism Index Part I: 2, 9, 23, 40
  • Religious Cynicism Index Part I: 41, 42, 44
  • Elitism Index Part I: 30, 43
  • Political Involvement Index Part II: 51, 54, 55, 56, 57
  • Religious Involvement Index Part II: 52, 58, 59, 60, 61
  • Charitable Involvement Index Part II: 53, 62, 63, 65, 66

The four strongest indexes or spiritual well­ being are the Christian Faith Index, the Self­ Satisfaction Index, the Personal Piety Index, and the Subjective Spiritual Well-Being Index. One measure of spiritual well-being could, therefore, just include the items involved in these indices. The indexes of Op­timism, Religious Cynicism, and Elitism are the weakest statistically and the author, through personal correspondence, recom­mends that these items be dropped.

Practical Considerations:

The directions for administering, scoring, and interpreting this instrument are specifically addressed in Moberg's (1984) article. This questionnaire can easily be administered to respondents in a private or group setting (i.e., classes, clubs, senior citizen forums, or church-re­lated gatherings).

The instrument is comprehensive and re­ quires approximately 30 to 60 minutes to complete. Because of its length, it may not be useful for subjects who tire easily or grow impatient with a lengthy question­naire.


The original sam­ple consisted of 76 l respondents in 17 group settings in three regions of the United States, and 320 respondents in 15 groups from all major regions of Sweden. It was se­lected in such a manner as to insure a di­ verse representation. However, means and standard deviations were not reported for these data.


No measures of reliability were reported in Moberg (1984).


Paloutzian and Ellison (1982) ad­ ministered their Spiritual Well-Being mea­sure (consisting of Existential Well-Being and Religious Well-Being) along with Moberg's instrument. These two measures corresponded very well with each other. The Existential Well-Being portion of Paloutzian and Ellison's measure had a cor­ relation coefficient of 0.73 with Moberg's Self-Satisfaction index. Likewise, Paloutz­ian and Ellison's Religious Well-Being Scale had a coefficient value of 0.86 with Moberg's Christian Faith index, 0.70 with Moberg's Personal Piety index, 0.63 with the Subjective Social Well-Being index, and 0.63 with the Religious Involvement index.

Well-Being Questionnaire


  1. BELIEFS AND ATTITUDES Circle the answer for each item that is closest to your own personal opinion or belief. (If you wish, you may add comments to explain your answers.)

SA = I strongly agree. A = I agree.

TA = I tend to agree.

TD = I tend to disagree.

D = I disagree.

SD = I strongly disagree.


1. I have inner peace. SA A TA TD D SD
2. The world owes me a living. SA A TA TD D SD
3. Right now my life is happy. SA A TA TD D SD
4. I don't find much satisfaction in private prayer with God.* SA A TA TD D SD
5. I don't know who I am, where I came from or where I'm going.* SA A TA TD D SD
6. I believe that God loves me and cares about me. SA A TA TD D SD
7. I feel that life is a positive experience. SA A TA TD D SD
8. I believe that God is impersonal and not interested in my daily situations.* SA A TA TD D SD
9. I believe in the goodness of all people. SA A TA TD D SD
10. Heaven is a reward for people who earn it by living a good life. SA A TA TD D SD
11. The only home for Heaven is through personal faith in Jesus Christ. SA A TA TD D SD
12. I feel unsettled about my future.* SA A TA TD D SD
13. I love myself. SA A TA TD D SD
14. I have a personally meaningful relationship with God. SA A TA TD D SD
15. I feel very fulfilled and satisfied with life. SA A TA TD D SD
16. I don't get much personal strength and support from God.* SA A TA TD D SD
17. I feel a sense of well-being about the direction my life is headed in. SA A TA TD D SD
18. I believe that God is concerned about my problems. SA A TA TD D SD
19. I know that God has forgiven my sins. SA A TA TD D SD
20. My religious faith gives meaning to my life. SA A TA TD D SD
21. My faith helps me to make decisions. SA A TA TD D SD
22. Most people are friendly to me. SA A TA TD D SD
23. All that I am and ever hope to be I owe to others. SA A TA TD D SD
24. All people are sinners. SA A TA TD D SD
25. I don't enjoy much about life.* SA A TA TD D SD
26. I don't have a personally satisfying relationship with God.* SA A TA TD D SD
27. I feel good about my future. SA A TA TD D SD
28. My relationship with God helps me not to feel lonely. SA A TA TD D SD
29. My life is full of conflict and unhappiness.* SA A TA TD D SD
30. I am annoyed when people ask me to help them out of a jam. SA A TA TD D SD
31. I feel most fulfilled when I'm in close communion with God. SA A TA TD D SD
32. Life doesn't have much meaning.* SA A TA TD D SD
33. My relation with God contributes to my sense of well-being. SA A TA TD D SD
34. I believe there is some real purpose for my life. SA A TA TD D SD
35. The Holy Spirit lives in me. SA A TA TD D SD
36. If my ideas about religion were

different, my lifestyle would be different.

37. I personally do have spiritual well-being. SA A TA TD D SD
38. My friends believe that I have spiritual well-being. SA A TA TD D SD
39. My family members or relatives believe that I have spiritual well-being. SA A TA TD D SD
40. Most people have spiritual well-being. SA A TA TD D SD
41. I try hard to keep religion separate from the rest of my life. SA A TA TD D SD
42. Efforts to deal with difficult problems of humanity by religious means are a waste of time and resources. SA A TA TD D SD
43. I do not want a group resident or half- way house for ex-convicts, alcoholics, drug addicts, or mentally ill people near my home. SA A TA TD D SD
44. Organized religion (church, synagogue, etc.) has harmed my own spiritual well- being more than it has helped. SA A TA TD D SD
45. Religious rituals or sacraments improve my well-being. SA A TA TD D SD
46. I once had spiritual well-being but have lost it.* SA A TA TD D SD
47. Jesus Christ died for my sins. SA A TA TD D SD
48. Jesus was a great religious teacher, but He was not the Son of God. SA A TA TD D SD
49. I have the peace of God. SA A TA TD D SD
50. The Bible is the Word of God and is

without mistakes in its statements and teachings.



  1. SOCIAL ACTIVITIES Please check each of the following that you have done during the past 12 months.
    1. Contributed money to a political cause or campaign.
    2. Contributed money to a church or other religious organization.
    3. Contributed money to a charity.
    4. Signed a petition to a government office or for a politician.
    5. Voted in an election.
    6. Tried to influence the way others vote.
    7. Supported human rights or other causes by attending a rally marching, distribut­ing leaflets, organizing, wearing a button, putting a bumper sticker on your car or other actions.
    8. Encouraged someone to accept your religious beliefs.
    9. Taught in a church school, synagogue, Sunday school or vacation Bible school.
    10. Held office or served on a committee in a church, synagogue, or other religious organization;
    11. Prayed for other people or for problems in the world.
    12. Donated food, clothing, or other things to a community project to help needy people.
    13. Donated your services to the Scouts, a service club, or some other community program to help people.
    14. Helped a family member or close relative when he or she was in trouble.
    15. Visited a sick or shut-in person who is not a family member.
    16. Helped a disabled or elderly person who is not a family member.


  1. FEELINGS (Use these pairs of words to describe how you feel about your life at the present time.)

If your life now is very closely related to one of the words, check the space next to it under the l or 7.

If your life is quite closely related, check the space under 2 or 6.

If your life is only slightly related, check the space under 3 or 5.

If your life seems either unrelated or equally related to both words, check the middle space under the 4.

It is important to check only one space on each line.

2 3 4 5 6 7

  1. Boring
    1. Rewarding
    2. Hopeless
    3. Many friends

Interesting* Disappointing Hopeful* Lonely


  1. Filled with guilt
  2. Filled with worry
  3. Useless
  4. Brings out

the best in me

Free from guilt*

Free from worry•


Brings out the worst in me


  1. RELIGIOUS ACTIVITIES AND IDENTITY Check the answer to each item that best indicates your own characteristics.
    1. How often do you usually attend religious services in a church or synagogue? Twice or more each week _ ; Once a week _ ; Once or more each month _ ; Several times a year_; Once a year or less_; Never_.
    2. How often do you attend or take part in other religious activities, such as Bible stu­ dies, prayer groups, religious discussions, etc.? Twice or more each week _ ; Once a week _ ; Once or more each month _ ; Several times a year _ ; Once a year or less _ ; Never_.
    3. How often do you read the Bible or other devotional literature? Every day _ ; Several times each week _; At least once a week _ ; Occasionally _ ; Rarely _ ; Never
    4. How often do you tune in to religious programs on radio or television? Every day _; Several times each week_; At least once a week_ ; Occasionally_; Rarely_ ; Never
    5. How often do you pray privately? Several times each day_; Daily _, Several times each week_; Occasionally _ ; Only when I have a crisis or emergency _ ; Never
    6. How often do you meditate? Several times each day_; Daily_; Several times each week_ ; Occasionally_ ; Only when I have a crisis or emergency _ ; Never_ .
    7. How important to you are your religious beliefs? Extremely important _; Very im­ portant_; Fairly important_; Somewhat unimportant _; Fairly unimportant

_ ; Not at all important_ .

  1. Compared to ten years ago, is your spiritual well-being now: Very much better_; Much better _; Somewhat better _ ; About the same _ ; Somewhat worse _ ; Much worse_; Very much worse_ .
  2. Have you been "born again" or had a "born again" experience-that is, a turning point in your life when you committed yourself to Jesus Christ? Yes_; No_. If yes, is it still important to you? Yes_; No_.
  3. Are you now, or have ever been, a member of a church or synagogue? Yes, I am an ac­ tive member now_; Yes, but I am an inactive member now _; No, but I was a member_; No, and I never was a member_.
  4. Is your church membership identity the same as that of your parents? Same as both_; Same as mother's but not father's_; Same as father's but not mother's_; Different from both
  5. What is your religious preference? Protestant _; Catholic _; Jewish _; Eastern Orthodox_; None_; Other (what?)_


  1. If Protestant, what denomination do you prefer? Baptist _ ; Episcopal _ ; Luth­ eran _ ; Methodist _ ; Pentecostal or Holiness _ ; Presbyterian or Reformed _ ; United Church of Christ_; Other (what?)_
  2. Which theological position is closest to your own? Atheist_; Agnostic or skeptic_; Jewish _; Charismatic Christian _; Evangelical Christian _; Fundamentalist Christian _; Liberal Christian _; Neo-Orthodox Christian_; Other (what?)


  2. Is your health: Excellent_; Good_; Fair_; Poor_?
  3. What is the highest level of education you have completed? 8 grades or less_; Some high school _ ; High school graduate _ ; 1 to 3 years of college_ ; College gradu- ate_; Master's degree_; Doctoral degree_; Other (what?)_
  4. What is your primary occupation? (Check only one) Student_; Homemaker_; Ser­ vice worker_; Skilled crafts_; Laborer_; Secretarial, clerical, or sales_; Pro- fessional or managerial_; Retired_; Other (what?}_
  5. What is your race? Black_; White_; Hispanic_; East Asian_; Native Ameri- can_; Other (what?)_
  1. Are you: Female_ ; or Male_ ?
  1. What is your age? 18 or less_; 19-24 _; 25-34 _; 35-44 _; 45-54 _; 55-64

_; 65-74 _; 75 or over_.


* Reverse Scored.


Part I: SA= 1


Scoring Instructions

A= 2 TA= 3 TD = 4 D = 5 SD= 6

(except items 4, 5, 8, 12, 16, 25, 26, 29, 32, 46 which are reverse scored).

Part II: Items left blank are coded "1." Items checked are coded "O."

Part III: Code by the sequential numbers by the blanks (except items 1, 3, 5, 6, 7 which are reverse scored).

Part IV: Items 9-16: Each blank is represented sequentially in order by I, 2, ... 6, and for item 22 a 7.

Item 17: Yes and Yes (still important) = 1 Yes and No (not important)= 2 No (on 1st part) = 3

No and Yes= 4

Items 18-28 Codes are sequentially number in order of the response categories.


Moberg, D. 0. (1984). Subjective measures of spiritual well-being. Review of Religious Research, 25, 351-359.

Subsequent Research :

Koenig, H. G., Moberg, D. 0., & Kvale, J. N. (1988). Religious activities and attitudes of older adults in a geriatric assessment clinic. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 36, 362-374.

Mickley, J. R., Soeken, K., & Belcher, A. (1992). Spiritual well-being, religiousness and hope among women with breast cancer. Journal of Nurs­ ing Scholarship, 24, 267-272.

Reed, P. G. (1986). Religiousness among termi­nally ill and healthy adults. Research in Nursing & Health, 9, 35-41.

Reed, P. G. (1992). An emerging paradigm for the investigation of spirituality in nursing. Research in Nursing & Health, 15, 349-357.

Walton, C. G., Shultz, C. M., Beck, C. M., & Walls, R. C. (1991). Psychological correlates of loneliness in the older adult. Archives of Psychi­ atric Nursing, 5, 165-170.

Note: A further resource of more recent research using Moberg's scale as well as other assessments of spiritual. well-being in the health care setting, can be found in the

Proceedings of the Spiritual Well-Being Conference

Program for Continuing Education in Nursing

Marquette University

510 N. 16th St.

Milwaukee, WI 53233



Hoge, D. R., & Roozen, D. A. (1979). Under­ standing church growth and decline: New York: Pilgrim Press.

Kelley, D. M. (1977). Why conservative churches are growing. New York: Harper & Row.

Moberg, D. 0. (1980). Social indicators of spir­ itual well-being. In J. A. Thorsen & T. C. Cook, Jr. (Eds.). Spiritual well-being of the elderly (pp. 20-37). Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas.

Paloutzian, R. F., & Ellison, C. W. (1982). Spir­itual well-being and quality of life. In L. A. Peplau & D. Perlman (Eds.), Loneliness: A sourcebook of current theory, research, and therapy. New York: Wiley Interscience.

Wagner, P. C. (1976). Your church can grow: Seven vital signs of a healthy church. Los Angeles: Regal Books.

Wagner, P. C., & Johnson, A. (1977). Intensity of belief: A pragmatic concern for church growth. Christianity Today, 2 I, 372-382.