Health Promotion at Work: A System-Oriented Exploration of Workplace Wellness Programs
Ghesmaty Sangachin, Mahboobeh
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By utilizing the workplace as a platform for health promotion, workplace wellness interventions have taken the responsibility of worker’s health care since the mid-1970s. Such interventions target various modifiable health risks such as obesity, poor physical activity and smoking to prevent the onset of disease as well as offering disease management support after the fact. However, the widespread low participation rate in these programs poses a significant challenge to their ability to fulfill their mission of enhancing employees’ health and saving cost through reduced health insurance cost and increased productivity. Understanding the motivations and barriers to participation in workplace wellness programs enables program designers to boost participation by addressing barriers and leveraging motives. While the majority of literature has thus far focused on personal and inter-personal correlates of participation such as socio-demographic variables and peer pressure, this dissertation aims to explore the role of behavioral regulations and workplace psychosocial factors on employees’ participation. Moreover, in order to account for the risk imposed by low participation on the programs’ financial profitability, a decision model is proposed that suggests an optimal program strategy in terms of the type of the program and duration of implementation as well as incentives, based on inputs such as employer’s size and expected participation rate. This work has implications for workplace program selection as well as implementation.