Anenson, Larry Wayne; Ph.D.
Program of Human Development, Wellness;
College of Human Development and Education; North Dakota State University
Utilizing E-Health Messages to Improve Employee Health and Wellness
Major Professor: Dr. Ardith Brunt
Employees who participate in a worksite wellness program experience positive outcomes. Therefore, employers are seeking cost effective methods to promote healthy lifestyle behaviors in their employees. There were three purposes of this research study. The first purpose was to determine if incorporating weekly e-health messages related to the seven dimensions of wellness had a positive effect on lowering health risks. The second purpose was to assess the effectiveness of e-health messages to motivate individuals in progressing through the stages of change constructs. The last purpose was to determine if gender, participant motivation, or length of intervention would alter participation in a worksite wellness initiative using e-health messages.
This quasi-experimental study consisted of 105 participants. Participants completed a wellness survey and biometric testing at baseline and at the end of the study. The intervention utilized weekly e-health messages.
Forty-six participants completed biometric testing. Of those, 31 had biometric measures that identified them as at higher risk for chronic disease, of which 25 improved in at least one area regardless of the type of message.
A total of 31 participants completed both Pre- and Post-Wellness Survey. All study groups showed positive advancement along the change continuum. Nearly half of the study participants obtained their self-identified health goal. Individuals who received basic e-health messages had a significant increase in goal obtainment compared to individuals who received more detailed messages.
There was a significant difference between the four group’s participation rates (p=0.002). More participants from the motivated groups opened at least one e-health message compared to unmotivated groups. Participants who indicated at baseline they wanted to receive e-health messages had nearly double the participation rate. Of the 27 participants who did not open any of the e-health messages, 19 were from the unmotivated group. Participation rates decreased by one e-health message for each month into the intervention.
E-health messages are a low time-commitment and low-cost way to encourage motivated employees to make behavioral health changes. These changes can help lower the risk of chronic disease. E-health messages can assist employees in moving along the change continuum to help reach their goals.