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Evaluation of a Worksite Based Walking Competition on Perceived Stress and Physical Activity Level among Female University Employees

Authors:
Volume 3, Issue 1, April 2014 | JOURNAL OF FITNESS RESEARCH 32
ISSN 2201-5655 © 2014, Australian Institute of Fitness
ORIGINAL RESEARCH
WORKSITE BASED WALKING
COMPETITION: EFFECTS ON
PERCEIVED STRESS AND PHYSICAL
ACTIVITY IN FEMALE UNIVERSITY
EMPLOYEES
Lisa J. Leininger, Breanna Z. Orozco, Kent J. Adams
California State University, Monterey Bay, USA
Corresponding author: Lisa J. Leininger
California State University, Monterey Bay, 100 Campus Center, Seaside, CA 93955, Tel: (831) 582-3963,
Email: lleininger@csumb.edu
ABSTRACT
Introduction: Stress is an increasing concern for female university employees, due to increasing work hours and stress
induced by trying to maintain work-life balance. Therefore, it is important for worksite health promotion programs to
focus on effective stress management programs, especially for women. The purpose of this study was to evaluate
if a worksite walking competition could decrease stress and increase physical activity levels for female university
employees.
Methods: Thirty-nine female employees who participated in the four week Workplace Walkoff Competition (WWC)
volunteered for the study. Perceived stress, days walking, and days of moderate and vigorous physical activity per
week were assessed before and after the competition.
Results: There was a signicant decrease in perceived stress pre- to post-competition (PSQ Mean Score = .32±.16
vs. Mean Score = .27±.12, p=.012). There was a signicant increase in walking days per week pre- to post-competition
(Mean = 4.4±2.3 days vs. Mean = 5.8±1.8 days, p<.001). Despite a trend, there was no change in moderate physical
activity pre- to post-competition (Mean = 2.5±2.1 days vs. Mean = 3.1±2.4 days, p=.07) However, there was a
signicant increase in vigorous physical activity days pre- to post-competition (Mean = 2.2±2.0 days vs. Mean =
2.8±2.3 days, p=.03).
Discussion: The ability to carry out low cost, short term programs at universities without continuous health promotion
programs may have potential for improving stress and employee health indicators, including physical activity amounts.
CONCLUSIONS: Worksite walking competitions may be implemented as an effective intervention to improve
health indicators in female university employees. The improvements in health indicators are an overall benet to the
workplace.
Keywords: Physical Activity, Stress, Worksite Health Promotion
Volume 3, Issue 1, April 2014 | JOURNAL OF FITNESS RESEARCH 33
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Volume 3, Issue 1, April 2014 | JOURNAL OF FITNESS RESEARCH 34
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Volume 3, Issue 1, April 2014 | JOURNAL OF FITNESS RESEARCH 36
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CONCLUSIONS
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SURJUDPVDWXQLYHUVLWLHVZLWKRXWFRQWLQXRXVKHDOWK
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LPSURYLQJVWUHVVDQGHPSOR\HHKHDOWKLQGLFDWRUV
LQFOXGLQJSK\VLFDODFWLYLW\DPRXQWV)XUWKHU
UHVHDUFKVKRXOGFRQWLQXHRQVKRUWWHUPSK\VLFDO
DFWLYLW\SURJUDPHIIHFWVRQKHDOWKLQGLFDWRUVVXFK
DVVWUHVVDWYDULRXVW\SHVRI ZRUNVLWHV
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$IULFDJournal of Industrial Psychology, 31
.LQPDQ*-RQHV)5XQQLQJXSDQG
GRZQWKHHVFDODWRUVWUHVVRUVDQGVWUDLQVLQ8.
DFDGHPLFVQuality in Higher Education, 9
*LOOHVSLH1$:DOVK0:LQHÀHOG$+'XD-
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FRQVHTXHQFHVDQGPRGHUDWRUVRI VWUHVVWork &
Stress, 15
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SURJUDPVDPHWDDQDO\VLVJournal of Occupational
Health Psychology, 13
Volume 3, Issue 1, April 2014 | JOURNAL OF FITNESS RESEARCH 37
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SURGXFWLYHHQYLURQPHQWHuman Resource Management
International Digest, 19
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in Canada in the new millennium: A status report. Ottawa:
Health Canada. Retrieved from http://publications.gc.ca/
collections/Collection/H72-21-186-2003E.pdf.
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Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription.
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... WHP programs at universities have the potential to increase PA, reduce stress, and improve health indicators [7,8]. Leininger et al. found that a worksite-based walking competition reduced perceived stress among female employees [7]. ...
... WHP programs at universities have the potential to increase PA, reduce stress, and improve health indicators [7,8]. Leininger et al. found that a worksite-based walking competition reduced perceived stress among female employees [7]. Perceived stress is a major health issue in the workplace, and is associated with greater vulnerability to life-event related depression symptoms, more upper respiratory infections, failure to control blood sugar and failure to quit smoking [9]. ...
... Strenuous and light days of PA were not statistically significant, but both trended towards increasing, with moderate days of PA increasing significantly. These results are consistent with previous research that indicated the effectiveness of WHP programs in increasing PA among university employees [7,18,19,20]. Additional research indicates that employees with WHP programs tend to be more active [20]. ...
... Workplace health promotion programs (WHPPs) have existed for decades, with many documented benefits to both employees and organizations [1][2][3][4][5]. Despite the company and employee benefits, organizations often struggle to incorporate long-term, cost-effective programming into their structure due to budget, staffing, and/or time constraints [6,7]. ...
... Each year, the faculty lead conducts a research project that overlaps the WWC. Previous results from studies stemming from the WWC include increased physical activity among WWC participants, reduced perceived stress among female WWC participants compared to those who do not participate [2], and a trend towards a higher self-rated health-related quality of life for those who participate [14]. ...
... Programs should also have an impact on the markers of chronic disease and improve health outcomes, which this program has demonstrated [2,14]. Another unique finding was that many participants stated that they volunteered for research projects because it gave them more information about their own health, for free, at a convenient location. ...
... Thus, we rather assume that the step challenge, which we conducted in the second intervention week, was especially effective in motivating employees, which in turn may have caused the pattern of change in number of steps. As previous studies have shown that different social challenges or competitions can be an effective tool for increasing the number of steps (Foster et al., 2010;Leininger et al., 2014;Prestwich et al., 2017), future studies might include a challenge as an extra motivational component to increase employees' physical activity. ...
Full-text available
Thesis
Heutzutage erfüllen nur 35 % der Deutschen das empfohlene Maß an körperlicher Bewegung (Robert Koch Institute, 2015). Ein möglicher Grund für diese Inaktivität ist, dass die körperliche Betätigung am Arbeitsplatz sich in den letzten Jahren um insgesamt 28% verringert hat (Wilke, Ashton, Elis, Biallas, & Froböse, 2015). Um dieser Entwicklung entgegenzuwirken, evaluiert die vorliegende Dissertation eine mHealth Intervention bestehend aus Fitnessarmbändern und einem Online Coach, welche die Bewegung von inaktiven Beschäftigten mit Gesundheitsrisiko fördern soll. Zusätzlich wird das Occupational Health Behavior Change (OHBC) Modell als theoretische Grundlage für Veränderungen von Gesundheitsverhalten im betrieblichen Kontext entwickelt. Das OHBC Modell verbindet ein gesundheitspsychologisches Modell mit einem Modell aus dem Bereich der Arbeits-& Organisationspsychologie und stellt die Grundlage für die beiden veröffentlichten Studien der Dissertation dar. Studie I bewertet den Effekt der Intervention auf körperliche Gesundheit und arbeitsbezogenem Wohlbefinden anhand eines randomisiert kontrollierten Studiendesigns und unter Berücksichtigung von Langzeiteffekten. Beschäftigte in der Interventionsgruppe zeigten eine Verbesserung ihrer physischen Gesundheit bis zu einem Jahr nach der Intervention, jedoch wurde kein Effekt auf arbeitsbezogenes Wohlbefinden gefunden. Studie II zeigt, dass die Schrittanzahl und die Beeinträchtigung des Wohlbefindens während der Intervention verbessert werden und beantwortet weiterführende Fragen über die Effektivität der Intervention anhand von modernen statistischen Methoden. Abschließend werden die Ergebnisse der beiden Studien diskutiert und dabei die Struktur des neu kreierten OHBC Modells überprüft. Insgesamt zeigt die vorliegende Dissertation, dass Fitnessarmbändern kombiniert mit einem Online Coach eine effektive Intervention darstellen, um körperliche Aktivität, physische Gesundheit und das Wohlbefinden von Beschäftigten zu fördern.
... Thus, we rather assume that the step challenge, which we conducted in the second intervention week, was especially effective in motivating employees, which in turn may have caused the pattern of change in number of steps. As previous studies have shown that different social challenges or competitions can be an effective tool for increasing the number of steps (Foster et al., 2010;Leininger et al., 2014;Prestwich et al., 2017), future studies might include a challenge as an extra motivational component to increase employees' physical activity. ...
Full-text available
Article
The present study evaluated the effectiveness of a workplace intervention combining activity trackers (behavioural approach) with an online coach (cognitive approach) in order to increase employees’ number of steps and improve their impaired well-being (i.e., emotional strain and negative affect). To analyse the intervention’s effectiveness, the study applied latent growth curve modelling. Moreover, we tested whether work-related and personal resources (i.e., job control and self-efficacy) moderated the intervention’s effectiveness and whether an increase in number of steps was associated with an improvement in impaired well-being. During the intervention, data were collected at six measurement points from 108 mainly low active employees. The results revealed that employees increased their number of steps until the second intervention week; this increase was not moderated by job control or self-efficacy. Moreover, the intervention was effective in decreasing emotional strain and negative affect over the course of the intervention. Further analyses showed that the increase in number of steps was related to the decrease in negative affect, whereas no such association was found for the increase in number of steps and the decrease in emotional strain. In conclusion, the findings showed that our intervention was effective in improving physical activity and impaired well-being among employees.
... Researchers have documented numerous benefits of work-based well-being programs (Aldana, Merrill, Price, Hardy, 882952W Baicker, Cutler, & Song, 2010;Butler, Clark, Burlis, Castillo, & Racette, 2015;Chen et al., 2015;Goetzel et al., 2014;Gosliner et al., 2010;Leininger, Orozco, & Adams, 2014;Merrill & LeCheminant, 2016;Williams & Day, 2011). Yet, not all segments of employees have the opportunity to benefit from employer-sponsored programs to improve health and workplace culture. ...
Article
Background: Emerging research indicates that Head Start employees often struggle with health issues and may not be able to model the healthy behaviors that they hope to instill in young children. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships between perceived physical health and chronic disease, stress, financial-resource strain, and job type. Method: This study was conducted in a large, multi-site Head Start agency located across five counties in the American Midwest. Employees ( N = 550) were invited to complete a 58-item questionnaire that assessed overall health and health behaviors, demographics, workplace environment, and interest in well-being programs. Bivariate analysis and multinomial logistic regressions were used to analyze the relationships between variables of interest and physical health. Findings: More than half ( n = 295; 53.64%) responded, and one quarter of the employees (25.42%) reported poor or fair health. Poor and fair physical health was associated with the number of chronic conditions, difficulty paying for basic necessities, and perceived stress, but not job type. A high percentage of responding employees (83.34%) reported interest in well-being programs, yet interests varied significantly by health status. Employees with poor and fair health expressed interest in stress and emotional-coping programs, in contrast to the fitness interests of employees who reported good, very good, or excellent health. Conclusion/Application to Practice: To meet the needs of employees with poor or fair physical health, employers should offer health behavior modification programs that address the sources of employee stress, including financial-resource strain and mental health challenges.
... Individual employee benefits include improvements in health indicators such as body mass index, perceived stress, cholesterol, blood pressure levels and physical activity amounts. [2][3][4][5][6] Organizational benefits include decreases in absenteeism, increases in job productivity, and substantial health care savings. 7,8 One of the primary goals of improving individual health indicators, including physical activity, is to improve perceived quality of life. ...
Full-text available
Article
Worksite health promotion programs (WHPPs) aim to improve the health and wellness of employees in an effort to improve health related quality of life (HRQOL). The effect of exercise on improving HRQOL is well documented among clinical populations. However, few studies have examined the effect of WHPPs on HRQOL. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of the six-week " Workplace Walk-Off Competition " (WWC) on HRQOL among university employees. One hundred and nine university employees were included in this study (WWC group: n=47, Control group: n=62). All study participants completed the Short Form 12 Question, Version 2 (SF-12v2) a HRQOL questionnaire, before and after the WWC. The SF-12v2 questionnaire determines HRQOL based on two components and reports scores for a physical component summary (PCS) score and a mental component summary (MCS) score. A two-way repeated measures ANOVA was performed on PCS and MCS scores, followed by dependent t-tests for each group. There was no significant difference in PCS or MCS scores between the groups. Further, there were no statistically significant changes in PCS or MCS scores (p>.05) among either group, following the six-week WWC. Although much research deems WHPPs effective for improving many health indicators, this short-term program was not effective in improving PCS and MCS components of HRQOL.
Article
Worksite health-promotion programs (WHPPs) are prevalent in a variety of worksite settings, including universities, due to their numerous individual health and organizational benefits. Simultaneously, WHPPs provide many employment opportunities for kinesiology graduates. However, few students graduate with applied experience in worksite health promotion. The purpose of this article is to provide details on an innovative WHPP called the “Workplace Walk-off Challenge” (WWC), in which undergraduate kinesiology students are involved at all stages of the program in order to provide a valuable experiential education opportunity. The WWC is an annual, six-week walking competition open to all employees at a small California university. Employees assemble into teams of five and track steps with the use of pedometers. The WWC also includes several events, lunch-and-learns, and awards and prizes. Kinesiology students assist in designing, implementing and assessing the WWC as part of their learning experience in the Worksite Health Promotion course.
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