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Mental Well-being Questionnaire FAQs

Mental Well-being Questionnaire

We are asking participants to complete a second questionnaire on mental well-being in Autumn 2022. This includes a repeat of some of the questions asked in 2016, and an exploration of further issues related to mental health and distress (such as living conditions and social engagement). Given the direct and indirect impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on many people’s mental and physical health, we are asking participants for details of their experiences of COVID-19.

Invitations to complete this new mental well-being questionnaire are being sent to participants with an email address in Autumn 2022 and participants who have not shared their email address with UK Biobank can access the questionnaire by logging in to the participant section of our website.

We hope that as many people as possible will be prepared to take part in this very important survey.

System Related

Your questionnaire and the web link to it that we have emailed to you are specific to you; this is so that we can add the data from the questionnaire to other data that you have provided previously. This means that it is very important that your questionnaire is only completed by you. Sometimes participants share email addresses or devices with other members of their household and this has sometimes led to questionnaires being completed by someone other than the intended recipient. We use your date of birth to double-check that the questionnaire has been completed by the correct person before releasing the data to researchers. We need to ask for your full date of birth because a partial date of birth may not distinguish you from someone you share an email address or device with; for example, if you both have the same month and year of birth.

We ask you to complete this again in case an error was made the first time or in case someone else, for example someone you share an email address with, started your questionnaire or tries to use a web link to a partially completed questionnaire.

If you realise that you have completed a questionnaire intended for another UK Biobank participant (for example, someone who shares an email address with you), please let our Participant Resource Centre know by calling 0800 0 276 276 (Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm).

Because of the global interest in the work of UK Biobank, questionnaires developed for UK Biobank are shared with researchers around the world for use in their own research. So that researchers can choose which sets of questions they ask in their research studies (rather than having to use a full UK Biobank questionnaire), our questionnaires are split up into modules which are accessed via the menu.

Please click on the ‘Show question numbers’ button (situated towards the bottom of the page, after the block of questions) to display the question numbers.

This is the way that our online questionnaires are designed. You have to click the ‘Save/continue’ button at the bottom of each page to ensure that your answers on that page are saved. If you go back to the previous page without having clicked this button, your answers on the current page will not be saved and you will have to enter the information again.

We provide a comments box at the end of the questionnaire for you to provide us with extra information if you would like to do so. If an issue comes up that you would like to comment on as you are working through the questionnaire, please make a note of it and include it in the comments box at the end. Please note, however, that any comments you leave will not be systematically reviewed. If you would like to tell us something that requires our immediate attention or action from us, please call our Participant Resource Centre on 0800 0 276 276 (Monday to Friday 9am-5pm).

Please open the module and then simply click ‘Save/continue’.

Please check that you are using the correct personal details and Participant ID (this can be found on most pieces of correspondence that we send to you). Please make sure that you are using the first letter of your surname rather than that of your first name. If you are still unsuccessful, please contact our Participant Resource Centre at or on 0800 0 276 276.

In order for the questionnaire to be marked as finished by our systems, every module of the questionnaire - including the final module, which is called the ‘End page’ - must be marked as complete. It is possible that you have not done this so we advise that you return to the questionnaire and check this. Even if you don’t add any comments on the ‘End page’, you will need to click ‘Save/continue’.  Alternatively, you might have accidentally completed the questionnaire belonging to another UK Biobank participant with whom you share an email address (for example, your spouse or partner). Please double-check that you have used the correct web link for you, which was included in the email which we addressed specifically to you.

Content Related


Yes please. Having information from people who have not had mental health conditions helps researchers understand why some people develop issues and others do not.

The questionnaire will guide you through the questions based on the responses that you give. This means that you will be asked questions that are tailored to your experiences of mental health. If you and your husband/wife/partner/friend have provided different answers to early questions, you may have been directed to different questions later in the questionnaire.

It has been six years since we asked participants to complete our first questionnaire on mental health, ‘Thoughts and Feelings’. This new questionnaire does contain some questions repeated from that, so that we can measure change in people’s mental well-being over time, but also some new questions.

The team of researchers involved in developing this new questionnaire with us are particularly keen to:

  • get more information about mental health issues that are known to be common in your age group;
  • find out more about some mental health issues where little is known about the experiences of people in your age group, for example in relation to panic and eating issues;
  • understand the changing context of your mental health and well-being, particularly given the COVID-19 pandemic which affected everyone in different ways.

Mental Health Module

Yes please. It will be very helpful for researchers when trying to understand your experiences to know about any diagnosis that you might have had at any point in your life, even back in childhood and even if you would now no longer receive the same diagnosis.

No thank you. Question MHC4 asks about first-degree blood relatives; these are your parents, siblings or children because this can help researchers looking at the influence of nature and nurture on who develops mental health conditions. Wider family history is less helpful in this respect.

Depression Module

Yes please. The questions have been chosen to identify differences between usual feelings and feelings that may indicate a mental health condition, so please do continue to answer.

Please just do your best to think back to how you were feeling and provide us with your best estimate in relation to the areas we’re asking about. If you really can’t remember, please select ‘Do not know’ from the possible responses.

If you have a name of a medicine which doesn’t appear in our list (question D28), please first have a look online to see if it has any other names e.g. a brand name, as this may be one that we mention. If you cannot find the name of your medication in our list, please select the option of ‘Other antidepressant(s)’ from our list.

Mood Changes Module

Yes please. The questions have been chosen to identify differences between usual feelings and feelings that may indicate a mental health condition, so please do continue to answer.

Anxiety and Panic Module

Even if these feelings and symptoms have been heightened for you over the last two weeks because of something that has happened in your life, we would still like you to tell us about your experience of these please. The questions have been chosen to identify differences between usual feelings and feelings that may indicate a mental health condition.

Adverse Life Events Module

We understand that we are asking you to provide us with information about very sensitive subjects which may feel difficult for you to share. Researchers believe that there is often a link between stressful experiences in childhood/adulthood and the development of mental health issues at a later date. This questionnaire will help them to better understand the relationship between these experiences. We would be very grateful if you could help us by answering these questions as fully as possible, but if this feels too difficult or intrusive then please select the ‘Prefer not to answer’ response. Please be reassured that your own individual responses will not be shared with any researchers in a way which could identify you.

Alcohol Use Module

We are interested in people’s alcohol use over the course of their lifetime. Many people who used to drink alcohol no longer do for various reasons, so we would like to know about past experiences of drinking alcohol as well as current experiences.

We would like to know about your usual habits in relation to drinking alcohol please. So if you have only given up drinking alcohol temporarily and intend to return to drinking, please think about your typical/usual alcohol use when completing the questions in this section.

Cannabis Use Module

No thank you. We are interested in your experience of smoking or ingesting cannabis, the drug that contains both CBD and other chemicals (such as THC), in your life.

UK Biobank does not pass information along to police or other authorities, and your own individual responses will not be shared with any researchers in a way which could identify you. Use of cannabis is very common, but scientists still do not fully understand the connections between this and people’s mental and physical well-being over a lifetime. By answering this honestly, you could be safely contributing to this research. However, if you do not feel comfortable then please choose the option ‘Prefer not to answer’ when answering questions in this section.

Harmful Behaviours Module

Please tell us if you have EVER felt this way at any point in your life. However, it can be troubling to think back over those times. If you feel upset, or you feel like this at the current time, we would encourage you to talk to someone about this; please visit for a list of contact details for relevant support services.  

Eating Patterns Module

Yes, please; we are interested in any period of low weight in your life during which your weight was low due to changes in your eating behaviour and/or physical activity.

Some people may experience several periods of low weight during their life. If so, please try to focus on the period that you experienced as the most severe or on the period that may have hindered you the most in going about your daily activities, for example, going to school or university, working, meeting friends or taking part in social activities.

Your low weight may have lowered your body’s ability to fight infections, weakened your bones, altered or stopped your periods (if applicable), or led to problems getting pregnant (if applicable). You may also have had problems with low blood pressure or fainting. Sometimes, someone’s weight can get so low that they need additional nutritional supplements or hospital treatment to be re-nourished.

Yes, we are interested in any kind of way that you restrict or have restricted your food intake to control your body weight and/or shape – this may include excessive intermittent fasting.

No, not in this context. Please do not include in your answers fasting as a religious or spiritual ritual (for example, during Ramadan, Yom Kippur, Tisha B'av, Fast of Esther, Tzom Gedalia, the Seventeenth of Tamuz, the Tenth of Tevet, Lent, Great Lent, Nativity Fast, the Apostles Fast or the Dormition Fast).

A person’s self-worth can be dependent on many different factors. Here, we are interested in finding out how strongly your self-worth depends on how much you weigh or how you look.

These questions are designed to measure disorders and symptoms that can come and go. Here, researchers need to know whether different symptoms appeared together. Symptoms occurring together may suggest a different diagnosis to the same symptoms also occurring but at different times. Please have a look at the time period that the question is referring to and answer as well as you can remember. If you always felt or did the same, giving the same answer on multiple questions is fine.

General Health Module

While we appreciate that providing a response for a single snapshot in time may not fully reflect your experience in general or how any issues you might have change over time, the authors of this question have designed it to capture general quality of life on a single day. The scale that these questions are part of has already been used by countless research and clinical studies in this form, including in UK Biobank.

COVID-19 Module

Research into COVID-19 can take multiple approaches. We are very grateful that you took the time to take part in the UK Biobank antibody studies. The COVID-19 questions in this questionnaire are different in that they explore your COVID-19 experience from the start of the pandemic to the present day, not just times when you have tested positive on antibody tests. This information could add extra dimensions to the data we already hold about COVID-19 for you. We would be very grateful if you could complete this section of the questionnaire as fully and accurately as possible; your responses will be extremely useful to researchers carrying out research into the pandemic.

Social Situation Module

Lots of aspects of life have changed over the past few years and we know that some people have struggled to resume some of the activities that they used to do before the COVID-19 pandemic. We are interested in this change so please tell us how things are for you now.

This refers to whether you agree with or understand the people around you.

End Page Module

Any comments you leave will not be systematically reviewed. If you would like to tell us something that requires our immediate attention or action from us, please call our Participant Resource Centre on 0800 0 276 276 (Monday to Friday 9am-5pm).

Any information you provide will be saved and could be evaluated by researchers in the future (for example, using techniques such as ’natural language processing’). However, UK Biobank does not currently have the resources to undertake this analysis.

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