High Stress and Negative Health Behaviors: A Five-Year Wellness Center Member Cohort Study

J Occup Environ Med. 2016 Sep;58(9):868-73. doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000000826.


Objective: The aim of this study was to examine the association between having a high stress level and health behaviors in employees of an academic medical center.

Methods: Beginning January 1, 2009, through December 31, 2013, an annual survey was completed by 676 worksite wellness members.

Results: Each year, about one-sixth of members had a high stress level, high stress individuals visited the wellness center less often, and most years there was a significant relationship (P < 0.05) between stress level and poor physical health behaviors (physical activity level and confidence, strength, climbing stairs), low mental health (quality of life, support, spiritual well-being and fatigue), poor nutritional habits (habits and confidence), and lower perceived overall health.

Conclusions: High stress is associated with negative health behavior, and future studies, therefore, should explore strategies to effectively engage high stress employees into comprehensive wellness programs.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Fitness Centers*
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Promotion
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life
  • Stress, Psychological / epidemiology*