An exploration of the determinants of sedentary behaviour in desk-based employees

LAMB, Martin Adrian (2018). An exploration of the determinants of sedentary behaviour in desk-based employees. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University.

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Sedentary behaviour (SB) is highly prevalent within desk-based employees (Clemes, O'Connell, & Edwardson, 2014) and is associated with a number of negative health consequences, including cardiovascular disease and diabetes (Wilmot et al, 2012). Interventions to reduce SB in the workplace, including active workstations (AWSs), can reduce SB (Neuhaus et al, 2014a), yet initial reductions are not to be sustained beyond 12-months (Koepp et al, 2013). Moreover, equipment-based interventions (e.g. AWS’s) are perhaps unaffordable for many areas of commerce and industry. Understanding the determinants of SB in the workplace could help in the design of pragmatic, scalable interventions to maintain reductions in SB. A thorough exploration of the determinants of SB in desk-based workers was undertaken using an online questionnaire (Study 1, n=1,101), and semi-structured interviews (Study 2, n=14). Organisational norms, control to sit, intentions to sit, social influences, and awareness of SB were identified as determinants of SB, underlining the complexity of SB in the workplace. Sitting was also reported to be a habitual behaviour and interestingly participants with AWSs only sat for 36 minutes less/working day than those with fixed sitting-height desks. This observation is low compared to data from previous research (78 minutes; Neuhaus et al, 2014a). Informed by the findings from Studies 1 and 2, a pragmatic pilot intervention (Study 3) was designed to form standing habits in the workplace to reduce SB. The Runscribe accelerometer was used to objectively measure SB, which was validated (Study 4) prior to the beginning of the intervention. SB reduced by 30 minutes/8-hour working day in the intervention group at 15 week follow-up. Following the intervention focus groups were conducted with participants to explore the acceptability and feasibility of the intervention (Study 5). Participants reported the intervention was feasible to implement within their workplace and did not interfere with their ability to carry out their work tasks, meaning that the intervention was pragmatic and could be implemented within workplaces with little disruption to working patterns. This thesis explored the determinants of SB in the workplace, which informed the design of a pragmatic intervention to reduce SB in desk-based employees. Findings underline the complexity of SB in the workplace but show support for a pragmatic and potentially scalable solution to reducing SB in desk-based workers. Although the findings have highlighted the complexity of workplace SB, social factors appear to influence SB over other determinants. Therefore it would be recommended that future interventions and research focuses on changing social norms around sitting and standing in the workplace. Further research is needed to explore the unconscious and habitual nature of SB in desk-based workers.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Thesis advisor - Copeland, Robert [0000-0002-4147-5876]
Additional Information: Director of studies: Robert Copeland
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Identification Number:
Depositing User: Colin Knott
Date Deposited: 11 Sep 2019 08:39
Last Modified: 03 May 2023 02:06

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