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On average, employees scoring among the bottom 25% in AQ had two and a half times as many days absent as did employees scoring among the top 25% in AQ, a highly significant difference (F=17.12, p=0.000).

Put another way, the low scoring group (AQ) had three and a third times as many days absent as the top group, and almost two and a half times as many absentee occurrences as subjects scoring in the top AQ group.

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AQDo high-AQ people perceive themselves as healthier? Does AQ correlate with absenteeism at work? This study gives some interesting answers.

Validity Study

AQ theory would predict that people who are high in AQ would also perceive themselves as healthier, taking fewer prescription medicines, feeling fitter, more energetic, happier, more optimistic, successful, luckier, engaged in more exercise, experiencing less stress, and being more satisfied with their jobs. They would also be expected to take fewer sick days from work, a factor that is of considerable importance to employers.


To test whether employee perceptions of their health were related to AQ, a 29-item questionnaire was designed and included with the AQ survey. The questions covered the subject’s perception of specific personal health factors (digestive system, respiratory system, cardiovascular system, muscular-skeletal system, stress, fitness, energy, diet, and general health), use of prescribed medicines, exercise, perceptions of happiness, optimism, hardship, luck, success in life, and job satisfaction.

Generally there were two questions, with response options on a seven-point scale, measuring each perception. For example, one question read, “In my current job, on most days I feel... (1) completely involved » (7) completely uninvolved.” Another question read, “On most days I find my job... (1) very enjoyable » (7) something I dread.” Although both of these questions measure job satisfaction, they are directed at somewhat different aspects of satisfaction, and could be combined to form a score that is more reliable than one single question would be.

Among the additional data collected were the number of days each employee was absent over the previous year and the number of occurrences of absenteeism. If an employee missed 10 days altogether, for example, and if those days broke down into 3 days at one time, 2 days the next time, and 5 days at another time, we counted this as three occurrences of absenteeism.

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  • Correlations between AQ and responses to the 29 health survey questions
  • Correlations between AQ and the number days absent and number of absentee occurrences over the past year
  • Comparisons of the mean number of days absent and mean number of absentee occurrences for employees obtaining high AQ scores versus those obtaining low AQ scores


All 29 of the health study questions correlated significantly with AQ. When paired into the scales mentioned above — digestive system, diet, job satisfaction, etc. — the correlations with AQ ranged from 0.104 for the cardiovascular system to 0.433 for optimism. A single question asking the number of days they participated in vigorous exercise correlated 0.111 with AQ. If there had been one more write-in question similar to the question on exercise, they could have been combined, and the resulting correlation would have been even higher.

AQ scores were correlated significantly both with days absent and number of absentee occurrences. The higher the AQ, the fewer were the number of days absent or the number of occurrences.

Correlation of AQ with days absent = –0.116, p<0.01
Correlation of AQ with number of absentee occurrences = –0.182, p<0.01

When we compared employees who obtained high AQ scores with employees who obtained low AQ scores, we found a very large and statistically significant difference in the average number of days absent for one year and the number of occurrences of absenteeism over that year.

Employees scoring at or above the 75th percentile in AQ consisted of those with AQ scores of 163 or higher. Employees scoring below the 25% percentile in AQ consisted of those with AQ scores of 137 or lower.

On average, members of the high scoring group missed 2.77 days of work over the course of a year, whereas members of the low scoring group missed 6.88 days of work. Furthermore, employees in the low-scoring group had an average of 1.89 absentee occurrences compared with an average of 0.85 occurrences for the high-scoring group. These differences in absentee occurrences between high-scoring and low-scoring employees were highly significant (F=49.16, p=0.000).

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Absentee Statistics for Subjects Scoring above the 75th and below the 25th Percentiles
Percentile Statistic Days Absent Occurrences
Below 25th Mean 6.88 1.89
N 293 293
Standard Deviation 15.48 2.09
Above 75th Mean 2.77 .85
N 285 285
Standard Deviation 6.38 1.38

The same computations were made for employees scoring above the 90th percentile on AQ compared with those scoring below the 10th percentile. The 90th percentile corresponded to an AQ score of 175, and the 10th percentile corresponded to an AQ score of 126. Comparing these two groups, we found that on average, employees who scored in the lowest group in AQ had an average of 10.12 days absent, and employees scoring in the top 10% had an average of only 3.04 days absent, a highly significant difference (F=10.12, p=0.002). The average number of absentee occurrences was 2.07 for the low-scoring group and only 0.88 for the high-scoring group, also a highly significant difference (F=21.49, p=0.000).

Absentee Statistics for Subjects Scoring above the 90th and below the 10th Percentiles
Percentile Statistic Days Absent Occurrences
Below 10th Mean 10.12 2.07
N 121 121
Standard Deviation 20.30 2.26
Above90th Mean 3.04 0.88
N 119 119
Standard Deviation 7.79 1.45

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  • The AQ score shows excellent validity as a correlate of many health, life, and work factors.
  • An employee’s perception of his or her health, fitness, quality of life, job satisfaction, and other health-related, happiness-related, and job-performance aspects of life are all significantly correlated to AQ.
  • The AQ score demonstrates excellent validity as a reflection of employee work attendance. It does that in two ways:
    • By correlating significantly with days absent from work and with the number of absentee occurrences; the higher the AQ, the fewer absences.
    • By demonstrating that employees who score very high in AQ (among the top 10% or top 25%) have far fewer days absent, and absentee occurrences, than employees who score very low in AQ (among the bottom 10% or bottom 25%). Differences are statistically significant and quite large.
  • AQ Profile subscores demonstrate excellent discriminant validity, with scale intercorrelations ranging from 0.28 to 0.72.
  • Reliabilities (alpha coefficients) of AQ and the four subscores are exceptionally high (over .90 for AQ and over .80 for subscores), indicating that scores are suitable for drawing reliable inferences about individual test-takers.
  • The distribution of AQ scores is very nearly normal, with a mean of 150 and a standard deviation of 18.
  • Any gender difference in the AQ score, or any of its subscores, is extremely small.
  • Age is slightly correlated with AQ and its subscores, suggesting that life experiences tend to improve a person’s ability to respond to adversity.

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