Occupational sedentary behavior: application of the social ecological model

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University of Alabama Libraries

Sedentary behavior is recognized as a significant public health problem. One of the primary domains to target sedentary behavior is in the workplace. Although research has called for the incorporation of an ecological perspective to investigate influences on occupational sedentary behavior, there are still numerous inconsistencies and gaps in the literature with regard to domain-specific ecological influences on sedentary behavior. The purpose of this study was to explore factors contributing to occupational sedentary behavior at multiple levels (intrapersonal, interpersonal, and institutional) using the social ecological model as a framework. The study utilized a quantitative, cross-sectional design through the administration of an online questionnaire. A convenience sample of 527 employed adults at a large Southeastern institution were recruited for this study. Occupational sedentary behavior among participants was 342.45 minutes (SD = 133.25). Significant differences in occupational sedentary behavior were observed by gender (p = .007), education level (p = .026), and employment classification (p = .006); where women, participants with a higher education, and professional staff reported significantly longer time spent in occupational sedentary behavior. Barrier self-efficacy ( = -.15, p = .001), local connectivity ( = -.10, p = .046), and overall connectivity ( = -.11, p = .018) emerged as significant predictors of occupational sedentary behavior (R2 = .058, F(3, 478) = 9.74, p < .001). Barrier self-efficacy (F[1, 457] = 8.51, p = .007, partial η2 = .016) and employment classification (F[2, 457] = 4.40, p = .013, partial η2 = .019) were significant predictors of occupational sedentary behavior. Findings from this study provide new information regarding the potential impact of psychosocial factors and workplace environmental configurations, such as barriers and connectivity, on employee sitting time during the workday and support the use of an ecological perspective to understand occupational sedentary behavior. Public health education researchers and practitioners should continue to explore ecological influences on occupational sedentary behavior and develop comprehensive interventions to address the negative health effects of occupational sedentary behavior.

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Public health education