Impact of the HealthMatters Train-the-Trainer Program on the Health and Health Behaviors of Staff Supporting Adults With Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Workplace Health Saf. 2019 Aug;67(8):423-435. doi: 10.1177/2165079919828739. Epub 2019 Apr 21.


The health status and health behaviors among support staff providing daily support for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD-SS) in community-based organizations (CBOs) have not been systematically studied. This study examined the health impact of IDD-SS workers who participated in a HealthMatters Program: Train-the-Trainer Certified Instructor Workshop followed by implementing a 12-week HealthMatters Program for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) that they care for as part of their employment. A total of 48 IDD-SS were enrolled into either an intervention (n = 28) or control group (n = 20). IDD-SS in the intervention group received an 8-hour HealthMatters Program: Train-the-Trainer Workshop immediately prior to teaching a 12-week HealthMatters Program for people with IDD. Assessments were conducted with IDD-SS before and after completing the 12-week HealthMatters Program to evaluate whether IDD-SS experienced any benefit of the training and teaching the program on their own health and health behaviors. Relative to the control group, the IDD-SS in the intervention group showed significant improvements in social/environmental supports for nutrition (F = 4.92, p = .032), exercise outcome expectations (F = 6.58, p = .014), nutrition outcome expectations (F = 8.87, p = .005), fruit and vegetable intake (F = 13.62, p = .001), knowledge of fruit and vegetable intake recommendations (F = 11.25, p = .002), and stages of change for eating fruits and vegetables (F = 6.86, p = .012). Results demonstrated that IDD-SS benefited from the health education programming. Findings support the need to develop programs and organizational policies for health promotion activities for direct care staff.

Keywords: direct service providers; health behaviors; occupational health and safety programs; organizational culture/climate; staff health; worksite health promotion.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Developmental Disabilities / psychology
  • Developmental Disabilities / therapy*
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Personnel / education
  • Health Personnel / psychology*
  • Health Personnel / standards
  • Health Promotion / methods
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Program Evaluation / methods
  • Teacher Training / methods*