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CNS Spectr. 2011 Jul;16(7):143-52. doi: 10.1017/S1092852912000314.

Norms for performance in the workplace in healthy people: data from the national comorbidity survey replication study.


IntroductionPsychiatric conditions affect multiple areas of psychosocial functioning, including functioning in the workplace. The purpose of this study was to establish norms for absenteeism (work days missed due to mental or physical illness) and work performance (quality of work performed when at work) for healthy individuals.


We selected 300 individuals without psychiatric or medical conditions from the National Comorbidity Survey Replication study (NCS-R). Absenteeism and work performance were assessed using the NCS-R version of the Health and Work Performance Questionnaire (HPQ).


Employees missed an average of 5.1 days of work in the past year. Absenteeism varied across occupations, with performers of routine tasks, office clerks, and professionals exhibiting the greatest variance in days missed. Work performance ratings were skewed toward high performance ratings and did not differ across occupations. Gender, age, race/ethnicity, and education level did not substantially moderate absenteeism and work performance norms.DiscussionSkewed ratings for work performance are consistent with previous findings using the HPQ. This may reflect a general tendency that individuals rate themselves favorably when they compare themselves to others.


This study provides normative tables for absenteeism and work performance in individuals without psychiatric or medical conditions, against which individuals with such conditions may be compared.


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