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Presenteeism in college students: reliability and validity of the Presenteeism Scale for Students



Presenteeism is the impaired work performance due to health problems. We aimed to develop a Presenteeism Scale for Students (PSS), and to reveal the existence of presenteeism among students.


Students (n = 5,701) in 4 national universities in Japan were recruited via the school-based health examination. Moreover, 122 students participated in a 2-week interval test–retest to examine the reliability and criterion-related validity of the PSS.


Of the students, 59.2% indicated some health problems. Allergy was most prevalent health problems, affecting 35.7% of the whole students. Students with emotional problems had higher degree of presenteeism than those with the other problems. The Cronbach’s α of the work impairment score of the PSS was 0.90. The Spearman’s coefficient for the test–retest score was 0.80 (P < 0.001). Regarding criterion-related validity, Spearman’s coefficient between the work impairment score of the PSS and summary score of the SF-36 was −0.60 (P < 0.001).


These findings suggest that the PSS can be expected to be useful for assessment of students with presenteeism. Furthermore, we found that the majority of students have some health problems, and proposed that the issue of presenteeism on campus should be addressed.

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Fig. 1
Fig. 2



Presenteeism Scale for Students


Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Health Survey


Primary health condition


Work impairment score


Work output score


Hours of absenteeism


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The authors would like to thank all of the staff of Akita University Health Administration Center, Nara Women’s University Health Administration Center, Fukuoka University of Education Health Center and Osaka University Health Care Center for conducting this survey. The authors are also grateful to Yasunobu Kabeshita, M.D. for helpful comments on an earlier draft of this paper.

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Correspondence to Masateru Matsushita.

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Matsushita, M., Adachi, H., Arakida, M. et al. Presenteeism in college students: reliability and validity of the Presenteeism Scale for Students. Qual Life Res 20, 439–446 (2011).

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  • Presenteeism Scale for Students (PSS)
  • Presenteeism
  • Absenteeism
  • Campus health
  • Health problems