Participation in workplace health promotion programs: the contribution of health and organizational factors

Health Educ Q. Fall 1988;15(3):269-88. doi: 10.1177/109019818801500303.


Interest in workplace health promotion programs has raised important questions regarding these programs' ability to attract participants. Typically, participation has been examined as a function of personal characteristics of employees. But participation in a workplace health promotion program may be influenced as much by organizational characteristics as by health-related characteristics of employees. This preliminary study, conducted at AT&T Communications, used path analysis, a statistical technique for controlling for the effects of causally prior variables, to develop a model of participation. The influence of three sets of factors was detected: (1) Sex of employee was significant, with women more likely than men to participate in the program, (2) Increased perceived risk of illness led to decreased health satisfaction which in turn led to increased intention to change health habits culminating in increased participation, and (3) The organizational climate factor of perceived supportiveness of the supervisor contributed to participation. While several potential limitations require that these findings be replicated and extended, the study suggests that developers of workplace health promotion programs should attend to organizational work climate as well as personal health characteristics of employees in an effort to increase program impact.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health
  • Community Participation*
  • Female
  • Health Promotion*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation
  • Occupational Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Organization and Administration*
  • Organizational Culture*