Differences in health beliefs and health behaviors between university academic and professional staff

Sealey, Rebecca, Leicht, Anthony, and Devine, Sue (2012) Differences in health beliefs and health behaviors between university academic and professional staff. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 15 (6). 783. pp. 354-355.

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Introduction: Physical inactivity is a known contributor to a variety of chronic diseases, with many adults spending a large proportion of their lives working in sedentary occupations. The aim of this project was to examine the impact of occupational classification on health behaviors and health beliefs in full-time employees. Methods This project was a self-report, descriptive design. The participants included 117 Academic and 180 Profe ssional staff employed at a regional University (65% female, age 43.2 ± 11.0 years). Participants completed an online survey that involved a self-report of demographic characteristics, physical activity and sitting time (via the International Physical Activity Questionnaire) and health beliefs (via the Health Belief Model). Independent t-tests, Mann Whitney U-tests and Chi-squared tests were used to compare Academic to Professional staff responses. Spearman rank correlation coefficients were calculated to determine relationships between dependent variables. Results Academic staff agreed more than Professional staff that regular exercise would reduce disease-related mortality, surgery and anxiety, and that they were likely to develop a disease during their lifetime (p<0.05). Academic staff also agreed more that maintaining good health was extremely important to them (6.5±1.0 vs. 6.3±0.9, p<0.05). Academic staff reported significantly longer working hours (49.9 ±10.4 vs. 39.9 ± 5.0 hours/week, p<0.05), significantly less moderate intensity physical activity (1613 ± 1508 vs. 2150 ± 2308 MET-minutes/week, p<0.05) and a similar amount of walking (866 ± 990 vs. 811 ± 845 MET-minutes/week, p>0.05) and sitting (3004 ± 1076 vs. 2758 ± 1031 minutes/week, p>0.05) to Professional staff. Working hours were not significantly correlated to sitting or physical activity time in either group. Sitting time was significantly (negatively) correlated to walking time for the Professional staff (ρ=-0.203, p=0.02), with no relationship evident for the Academic staff. Discussion Academic and Professional staff at a regional University report differences in health beliefs and health behaviors. The health beliefs of Academic staff do not appear to directly affect exercise behavior. The impact of both occupational classification and individual health beliefs should be considered when designing worksite health programs.

Item ID: 23886
Item Type: Article (Abstract)
ISSN: 1440-2440
Date Deposited: 30 Nov 2012 01:21
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1106 Human Movement and Sports Science > 110699 Human Movement and Sports Science not elsewhere classified @ 70%
11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111712 Health Promotion @ 30%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920408 Health Status (e.g. Indicators of Well-Being) @ 70%
93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9304 School/Institution > 930402 School/Institution Community and Environment @ 30%
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