Project: Move more

Peer reviewed and published

This project was submitted on 11/05/2015, published on 05/08/2014 by IOSH, and peer reviewed by IOSH

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) remain a major health problem, with insufficient postural change at work implicated in their prevalence. Self-report data suggest that office workers sit for long periods without getting up. The Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) outlines a number of factors thought to impact on intention to behave in a certain way, highlighting (though not addressing) a gap between intention and behaviour. External prompts or reminders, and the writing of Implementation Intentions (if then plans) have been used to close this gap for other behaviours in office environments.
This study investigated whether these plans and prompts increased the number of short (30 second) postural breaks taken by ‘desk-bound’ office staff. The reasons behind success or failure were examined via focus groups (n= 31).
Objective postural break data (n=195) were collected using waist-mounted, BACK-TRACK™ data loggers at 3 time points; before, immediately after and several months after intervention. All groups, including the control, were given written encouragement to take more, 30 second postural breaks. One group wrote if-then plans about postural changes; one received an external prompt
to move, provided by the BACK-TRACK™ device; one combined intervention group wrote if-then plans and received the external prompt.
Data reveal this population take regular postural breaks, even at baseline ( =3.34 postural breaks per hour). Writing if-then plans were effective in doubling the odds that a meaningful increase in postural breaks would be achieved. External buzzing prompts did not affect the number of breaks taken and no intervention effect on pain was found.
Participants reported a number of factors that influenced their break taking; these have been classified using the TPB, to which a number of additional factors have been integrated. A list of recommendations describing how to incorporate all the findings from this study into health and safety practice are outlined.

Move more (3).pdf
Musculoskeletal disorders
Agriculture, Aviation and Aerospace, Chemical, Construction, Education, Engineering, Entertainment and Leisure, Environmental and Waste management, Finance, Fire, Food and Drink, Healthcare, Local Authorities, Manufacturing, Media, Nuclear, Offices, Offshore, Other, Public Sector, Quarrying / Mining, Railway, Retail, Telecommunications, Transport

Organisation: University of Derby

Faculty of Education, Health and Science
School of Science
Department of Psychology
Kedelston Road,
DE22 1GB,
01332 590500

Principal Investigator: Dr Claire Williams BSc PGCE MSc PhD

Other Researchers: Elaine Denning BSc
Andrew Baird BSc MSc
Professor David Sheffield BSc PhD

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