All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Susan L Davies

Advisory Committee Members

Connie Kohler

Dori Pekmezi

Elizabeth H Maples

Nataliya Ivankova

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) School of Public Health


Background: Obesity and overweight contribute to worksite absenteeism and decreased productivity. Encouraging employees to frequent the stairs is one approach towards increasing worksite physical activity. Methods: An explanatory, mixed methods research design was used to explore the impact of a health communications campaign entitled "Stepping Up" on worksite stair use in health department employees. The campaign included octagonal shaped posters similar to traffic signs, email prompts and printed materials. A pretest and posttest were administered before and after the intervention to assess stair use frequencies and identify predictors. A Wilcoxon signed-rank test for related samples, Spearman correlations and multiple rank regression were used to analyze the data. Employee subgroups were selected to participate in focus groups designed to explore the campaigns' impact. Focus group transcripts were used to identify emergent themes, sub-themes, categories and codes. Results: A total of 70 employees participated in the pretest and posttest surveys; 22 employees participated in the focus groups. Worksite stair use increased significantly from baseline to follow-up for both office stair use and non-office stair use. Significant correlations between stair use and demographic characteristics, workplace characteristics and theoretical constructs were identified. Multiple rank regression results indicated that stair use frequencies increased as behavioral intentions increased. Regarding gender, stair use frequencies decreased in women compared to men. In addition to the quantitative results, focus group results indicated that the campaign changed pre-existing attitudes and raised stair use awareness; however, negative reinforcements such as physical injuries and locked stairwells were identified as stair use barriers. Peer and superior colleague interactions were said to have both encouraged and discouraged stair use. Conclusion: Octagonal shaped poster prompts appear to be effective in increasing worksite stair use. Additionally, behavioral intentions and gender appear to be contributing factors. However, the study results should be viewed conservatively as a result of several limitations and additional research is recommended.

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