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Poor Health but Not Absent: Prevalence, Predictors, and Outcomes of Presenteeism

Robertson, Ivan PhD; Leach, Desmond PhD; Doerner, Nadin PhD; Smeed, Matthew MSc

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: November 2012 - Volume 54 - Issue 11 - p 1344–1349
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e31825dff4b
Original Articles

Objective: The objective of this study was to examine the prevalence of presenteeism, to develop and test a model of the relationship between workplace factors and presenteeism, and to assess the perceived influence of manager, coworkers, and self on presenteeism.

Methods: We used survey data collected for 6309 employees from seven different organizations.

Results: Nearly 60% of the sample reported presenteeism during a 3-month period. The model was supported, with presenteeism linking workplace factors and health outcomes to productivity, as predicted. The majority of participants (67%) indicated that the primary pressure to attend work while sick came from themselves. A substantial minority (20%) also indicated the manager as a source of pressure.

Conclusions: Psychosocial workplace factors are predictive of presenteeism, and efforts to control them, including the use of more effective management, may impact presenteeism rates and the resulting levels of productivity.

From Robertson Cooper Ltd (Dr Robertson and Mr Smeed), Manchester, United Kingdom; University of Leeds (Drs Robertson, Leach, and Doerner), Leeds, United Kingdom; and University of St Gallen (Dr Doerner), St Gallen, Switzerland.

Address correspondence to: Ivan Robertson, PhD, Robertson Cooper Ltd, Williams House, Manchester Science Park, Manchester, M15 6SE, United Kingdom (

Authors Robertson, Leach, Doerner, and Smeed have no relationships/conditions/circumstances that present potential conflict of interest.

The JOEM Editorial Board and planners have no financial interest related to this research.

©2012The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine