Ward Atmosphere Scale


Author: Rudolf H. Moos

As one of the Social Climate Scales, the Ward Atmosphere Scale (WAS) has been widely used in clinical settings and program evaluation. It helps by comparing client and staff perceptions, by monitoring program changes over time, and by promoting program improvement. It also provides accurate information about perceptions of different programs and encourages staff to become involved in program planning and design. It measures: involvement, support, spontaneity, autonomy, practical orientation, personal problems orientation, anger and aggression, order and organization, program clarity, and staff control.

The WAS is available in four forms (R, I, E, or S). Form R measures an individual's perception of the ward atmosphere; Form I (Ideal) measures the ideal ward atmosphere the client or staff desires; Form E (Expected) assesses an individual's ward atmosphere expectations. Form S (Short) is a shortened version (40 items) of Form R. All four forms (R, I, E, S) are included. Administration of a single form (R, I, E or S) is counted as an administration, while administration of all three forms (R/S, I, and E) one time is counted as three administrations.

Copyright © 1974 by Rudolf H. Moos

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Features of the WAS

Purpose: Measure the actual, preferred, and expected treatment environments of hospital-based psychiatric programs.

Length: 100 items

Average completion time: 25-30 minutes

Target population: Staff and clients in hospital-based psychiatric programs

Administration: For individual or group administration

Uses of the WAS

  • Program evaluation
  • Treatment program description
  • Compare actual and preferred programs
  • Impact evaluation of intervention programs
  • Source of individual perception information of a treatment program






Practical Orientation

Personal Problems Orientation

Anger and Aggression

Order and Organization

Program Clarity

Staff Control

Sample Items

Form R
Please decide which statements are true of your program and which are false.

1. Patients put a lot of energy into what they do around here.TrueFalse
2. Doctors have very little time to encourage patients.TrueFalse
3. Patients tend to hide their feelings from one another.TrueFalse
4. The staff act on patients' suggestions.TrueFalse
5. New treatment approaches are often tried in this program.TrueFalse

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Note: We cannot assure translation quality — many are made by individual researchers and we are not necessarily familiar with the particular language or dialect. Some of the translations are partial and typically do not have validation data. Basically, we offer whatever is available to facilitate your work.

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