Reliability and Validity of the Work and Well-Being Inventory (WBI) for Self-Employed Workers: Test Norms of Employees Are Not Suitable for Entrepreneurs

  • Lex VendrigEmail author
  • Liesbeth Wijnvoord
  • Frederieke Schaafsma


Purpose Sickness absence and work disability can be a major burden for society and for both employees and self-employed workers. Validated tools for assessing the psychosocial risk factors of long-term disability, for matching effective interventions and for deciding when to resume work can be of great value. However, no validated tools exist for self-employed workers. The purpose of this study is to adjust and to validate the Work and Wellbeing Inventory (WBI) for entrepreneurs. Methods The sample consisted of 676 self-employed workers with a private disability insurance policy. Three groups were distinguished: business owners, liberal professions and doctors and paramedics. Reliability, construct validity and concurrent validity of the WBI were examined. Scale scores were calculated for each group of self-employed workers and compared with the scores of a representative group of 912 Dutch employees to test the adequacy of the existing (employee) test norms. Results The WBI for the self-employed showed good to excellent reliability figures. The construct validity and the concurrent validity of the WBI could be confirmed. Overall, the self-employed scored higher on job satisfaction, social support at work and perfectionism (diligence) and had fewer mental health problems compared to employees. Self-employed workers should not be treated as one group, as there were important differences between entrepreneurs, liberal professions and doctors and paramedics. Conclusions The reliability and validity of the WBI were confirmed. Important differences in the scores of employees and the self-employed were revealed. In addition, the group of self-employed workers appeared to be rather heterogeneous.


Screening tool Return to work Occupational health care Self-employed 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

Lex Vendrig has developed the WBI (Dutch: VAR-2) and he participates in a project to support the online application of the VAR-2 (project: VAR-2-app). Frederieke Schaafsma and Liesbeth Wijnvoord declare they have no conflicts of interests.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Vledder Medical CentraVledderThe Netherlands
  2. 2.MovirNieuwegeinThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Department of Public and Occupational HealthResearch Center for Insurance Medicine, AMC UMCG UWV VUmc. Amsterdam Public Health Research Institute, VU University Medical CenterAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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