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A workplace intervention designed to interrupt prolonged occupational sitting: Self-reported perceptions of health from a cohort of desk-based employees over 26 weeks
Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to investigate the effectiveness of a workplace intervention designed to interrupt prolonged occupational sitting time (POST) and its impact on the self-reported health of a cohort of desk-based employees.
Design/methodology/approach: In total, 43 participants received an interactive computer-based software intervention for 26 weeks. For the first 13 weeks the intervention passively prompted the participants to interrupt POST and perform brief bouts of non-purposeful movement. The second 13 weeks involved the passivity of the intervention being removed, with the intervention only accessible voluntarily by the participant. This approach was adopted to determine the sustainability of the intervention to change workplace health behaviour.
Findings: ANOVA results revealed a significant interaction between group and test occasion, F(2, 42) = 2.79, p < 0.05, such that the experimental group increased their total health from pre-test to post-test (13 weeks), and to second post-test (26 weeks) with a medium effect size of Cohen’s d = 0.37.
Research limitations/implications: An action research approach was implemented for this study, and hence the participants were organised into one group. Based on a communitarian model, the intervention aimed to monitor how desk-based employees adapted to specific health behaviours, and therefore a control group was not included.
Practical implications: Passively prompting desk-based employees to interrupt POST and perform non-purposeful movement at work improved self-reported health. Participant perceptions of health were maintained following the removal of the passive feature of the intervention.
Social implications Interventions predicated on a social ecological model that modify how employees interact with the workplace environment might provide a framework for health behaviour change in populations where sitting is customary.
Originality/value: The passive approach used in this study removed the individual decision-making process to engage in health behaviour change, and established a sustainable effect on participant health.
Publication titleInternational Journal of Workplace Health Management
Department/SchoolFaculty of Education
PublisherEmerald Group Publishing Limited
Place of publicationUnited Kingdom
Rights statementCopyright 2016 Emerald Group Publishing Limited