Carson, Russell L.
College of Natural and Health Sciences; Physical Education and Physical Activity Leadership
University of Northern Colorado
Type of Resources
Place of Publication
University of Northern Colorado
Employee involvement in physical activity (PA) while at school has been understudied and is relatively unknown (Chen & Gu, 2018; Hunt & Metzler, 2017). The purposes of this dissertation study were to (a) describe school employees’ PA behaviors while at school, and (b) explore school employees’ perceptions of the feasibility of school employee PA interventions found to be effective in published research. An explanatory sequential mixed methods design was used to collect school employee self-reported PA behaviors and district/school demographic information via an electronic survey from 488 school employees in northern Colorado. Data were analyzed using the Kruskal-Wallis H test, Mann-Whitney U test, and multiple linear regressions to assess how employees’ PA levels while at school varied by employee or district/school demographic variables. From the quantitative sample, a subsample of eight participants were stratified into a low PA group (n = 4) and a mod-high PA group (n = 4) to participate in individual interviews to explore school employees’ perceptions of: (a) PA while at school, and (b) the feasibility of school employee PA interventions found to be effective in published research. Qualitative data were analyzed within and across groups using the constant comparison method. The quantitative data revealed (a) males were more active than females, (b) specials teachers were more active than general education classroom teachers, (c) age negatively predicted physical activity, (d) employees in rural school districts were more active than those in suburban districts, and (e) employees who had an employee wellness program were more active than those without an employee wellness program. There were no significant results for years of full-time experience, level of instruction, highest degree earned, or district free/reduced lunch percentage. The qualitative data revealed (a) employees perceived a lack of time as a barrier to their PA while at school; (b) employees recognized the importance of PA for their physical, mental, and work-related health; (c) the presence of a PA support system was needed for employee PA in the form of a wellness program or committee, administrative support, coworker support, and on-campus facilities for PA but low PA participants lacked a wellness program or committee and coworker support; and (d) employees identified facilitative strategies and implementation skills to overcome barriers to be physically active while at school in the low PA group but not in the mod-high PA group. In conclusion, school employees were interested in and valued PA but faced challenges with fitting it in while at school. Future work is needed to identify strategies and interventions for school employees to be active during the workday. Increasing PA levels of school employees could have implications for their daily health and wellness and contribute to the multicomponent implementation of comprehensive school physical activity programs.
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