Howell, R. W., and Crown, Sidney (1971).Brit. J. industr. Med.,28, 126-130. Sickness absence levels and personality inventory scores. A `personality inventory', the Middlesex Hospital Questionnaire (MHQ), was fully completed by 2 352 participants in a prospective survey of heart disease undertaken by the medical service of the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA). All participants were male employees born between 1912 and 1926. MHQ scores were analysed to see if there was any association between score levels and various causes of absence from work attributed to sickness.
MHQ scores were significantly higher than the survey mean in patients suffering from some diseases regarded as `psychosomatic' (peptic ulcer, P<0·05; duodenal ulcer, P<0·01; hay fever, bronchial asthma, and allergy, P<0·05; essential hypertension, P<0·01). Mean MHQ scores were also higher than the survey mean in patients who lost time from work because of mental, psychoneurotic, and personality disorders (P<0·001). There was a greater percentage of absenteeism (78·7%) in high MHQ scorers than in low scorers (71·7%, P<0·001); the total time lost was also greater in those with high scores.
The uses and limitations of such a personality inventory as a screening or research device in industry are discussed.
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