Degree Granting Department
Physical Education and Exercise Science
Marcus Kilpatrick, Ph.D.
Exercise, Education, Co-worker, Peer support, Psychology
Millions of dollars are being spent on health care claims. To try and reduce these claims, corporations are implementing worksite health promotion programs. Some success has been associated with these programs. Many programs implement different types of incentives and competitions. Some incentives and competitions are based on individual participation while others are based on team participation. The purpose of the study was to determine the role social support plays in individual and team health promotion programs and discover if social support was the key factor for the differences in such programs. All participants of the study were responsible for keeping a four week activity log that tracked the number of minutes spent exercising each day. In addition, each participant was responsible for completing three social support surveys, which were due at the beginning, middle, and end of the program.
Half of the participants competed as individuals while the other half competed as two-person teams. Each participant completed their forms electronically and attached them to an email that was sent to the principle investigator by specified due dates. There were no differences discovered between the two conditions. There were no differences in the number of minutes spent exercising, but there were also no differences in the social support scores. However, this might be due to a number of reasons. First, the majority of the participants were already exercising an average of about 38 minutes per day, which is the recommended amount. Second, there may have been more distinct differences if novel exercisers were paired with regular participants in the team condition. Finally, the provided incentive was small and there may have been greater participation and lower attrition if a bigger incentive was provided.
Although there were no significant differences between the conditions, valuable information was still gathered. Worksite wellness centers may provide an element of built-in support, which is part of a healthy corporate culture and ultimately affects health behavior change. Also, there are many opportunities for future research. A follow-up study may show that the team participants maintained their level of exercise because of the relationships created during the program. However, regardless of the type of program, individual or team, incentive programs are an important component of worksite health promotion and both types should be offered throughout the year to encourage participants to keep up or implement a healthy lifestyle.
Scholar Commons Citation
Kriz, Lauren, "Be active! An examination of social support's role in individual vs. team competition in worksite health promotion" (2006). USF Tampa Graduate Theses and Dissertations.