Aims: To investigate the acceptability of two questionnaires, the five item WHO Well-being Index (WHO-5) and the Beck Depression Inventory II (BDI-II), which differ in length and focus, by comparing three screening groups: (1) WHO-5, (2) BDI-II and (3) WHO-5 and BDI-II. Methods: A total of 699 individuals with diabetes were approached to participate in the study, of whom 95 completed the WHO-5, 254 completed the BDI-II and 350 completed both the WHO-5 and the BDI-II questionnaires. Five facets of acceptability were compared, including objective aspects (response rate and completion level) and subjective aspects (appreciation, agreeableness and accuracy of the screening questionnaire). Data were analysed using logistic regression analysis and (multivariate) analysis of covariance. Results: The overall response rate was 65% (453 out of 699). No differences between the three groups were found with respect to the response rate (WHO-5: 66%; BDI-II: 63%; WHO-5 and BDI-II: 66%; P ≥ 0.19) and completion level (WHO-5: 99.5%; BDI-II: 97.8%; WHO-5 and BDI-II: 98.7%; P=0.45). The three groups did differ significantly in their scores on two of the three subjective indicators (P<0.03), i.e. appreciation (P=0.002) and agreeableness (P=0.035), with those completing only the WHO-5 reporting greater appreciation and agreeableness. Conclusions: A brief well-being questionnaire, such as the WHO-5, results in greater appreciation of mood screening and appreciation of completing the questionnaire, but this does not result in a better response rate and higher questionnaire completion. Given these results, either or both questionnaires can be used to screen for depressive symptoms in people with diabetes in clinical practice.