The purpose of the present study was to determine the accuracy of nurses' self-reports of absence by examining: (1) the correlation, intra-class correlation, and Cronbach's alpha for self-reported absence and absence as reported in organizational records, (2) difference in central tendency for the two measures of absence and (3) the percentage of nurses who underestimate their absence.
Research on nurses' absenteeism has often relied on self-reports of absence. However, nurses may not be aware of their actual absenteeism, or they may underestimate it.
Self-reported absence from questionnaires completed by 215 Canadian nurses was compared with their absence from organizational records.
There is a strong positive correlation, a strong intra-class correlation and Cronbach's alpha for the two measures of absence. However, there is a difference in central tendency that is related to the majority of nurses in this study (51.1%) underestimating their days absent from work.
Research examining the predictors of absence may consider measuring absence with self-reports. Nevertheless, nurses demonstrated a bias to underestimate their absence.
Feedback interventions to reduce absenteeism can be developed to include providing nurses with accurate information about their absence.