The Stirling Children’s Wellbeing Scale (commonly referred to as the Stirling Scale) measures emotional and psychological wellbeing in children and young people aged 8 to 15 years. The areas of wellbeing covered by the scale include optimism, cheerfulness and relaxation; satisfying interpersonal relationships; positive functioning including clear thinking and competence

It includes 12 self-report items answered on a 5-point scale and aims to assess wellbeing with a positive focus, rather than focusing on mental illness, in the areas of positive emotional state and positive outlook.

There are an additional three items to determine if the participant’s answers are biased or if they have a socially desirable response set.

See here for more information.

Terms of use

The Stirling Scale is free to use (prior permission is not required) subject to the standard conditions which state that the measure must not be altered and there must be no cost to the end user of the measure to use it.

The Stirling Scale can be downloaded here.

Scales / Subscales

The Stirling Scale includes two sub-scales on wellbeing: positive emotional state (6 items) and positive outlook (6 items). Additionally, it includes one sub-scale on social desirability (3 items).

These can be found here in Appendix D.


The Stirling Scale was developed in Scotland. The scale is suitable for use with children and young people aged 8 - 15 years. It was designed with language for a reading age of 8 years.

It can be administered electronically or on paper, and the electronic version is considered more accessible for younger children and those with reading difficulties.

The Stirling Scale was developed and standardised using a sample of children from the Stirling Council area, which may not be representative of other cultural groups. As such, the results obtained using this scale may be influenced by cultural biases.

To our knowledge, no study has been published regarding the suitability of the measure across different ethnic or linguistic groups.


As with all outcome measures, attention should be paid to how the Stirling Scale is introduced and explained to the child or young person being asked to complete it. The measure is most effective when used in a curious and explorative approach, as part of a conversation with the child or young person.

We recommend that users review the CORC training and guidance to get the most from using measures with children and young people.

Working remotely

We do not have an electronic version of the Stirling Scale available. You are able however to administer it electronically and to incorporate the measure into electronic systems that would enable the use of the Stirling Scale electronically for remote working.

Please visit the CORC guidance on using measures remotely with children and young people.

Scoring & Interpretation

Each item is scored between 1 and 5. The minimum possible score is 12, and the maximum possible score is 60. Children and young people with lower scores should receive additional assessment of their mental health.

A 3-item social desirability sub-scale is included to determine if respondents are responding based on the socially desirability of their answers, and these answers are not included in total scores. The Stirling Scale scores should be interpreted with caution when scores on the social desirability sub-scale total 3 or 14-15 as this indicates that the respondent may be selecting answers based on social desirability or undesirability.

Psychometric properties




Internal consistency

Degree to which similar items within a scale correlate with each other.

The Stirling Scale demonstrates good internal consistency, with two subcomponents of 6 items each in the areas of Positive Emotional State and Positive Outlook (Liddle & Carter, 2010).

Construct validity

Degree to which the questionnaire actually measures the specific trait or attribute it is intended to measure.

The Stirling Scale is positively correlated with more the WHO-5 and the DuBois Self-Esteem Scale, demonstrating good construct validity (Liddle & Carter, 2015).

Test-retest reliability

Degree to which the same respondents have the same score after period of time when trait shouldn't have changed.

The Stirling Scale showed a strong correlation between two scores taken a week apart, demonstrating good test-retest reliability (Liddle & Carter, 2015).

Convergent validity

Degree to which two measures of constructs that theoretically should be related are in fact related.

No information available at present.

Concurrent validity

Correlation of the measure with others measuring same concept.

No information available at present.

Discriminant validity

Lack of correlation with opposite concepts.

No information available at present.




The Stirling Scale has been translated into UrduJapanese, and Indonesian languages as well as the Bangladeshi context.


Liddle, I., & Carter, G. (2010). Emotional and psychological wellbeing in children: The standardisation of the Stirling Children's Wellbeing Scale. Stirling Council Educational Psychology Service.

Liddle, I., & Carter, G. F. (2015). Emotional and psychological well-being in children: the development and validation of the Stirling Children’s Well-being Scale. Educational Psychology in Practice, 31(2), 174-185.

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