Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Alicia G. Dugan, PhD; Tania B. Huedo-Medina, PhD; Martin G. Cherniack, MD, MPH

Field of Study

Health Promotion


Master of Science

Open Access

Open Access


Background: The rates of obesity in the United States continue to rise, particularly with disparities in high stress, low job control occupations such as corrections. Employers are in a unique position to improve employee health through development of Total Worker Health interventions that integrate worker safety and health promotion to improve employee health and well-being.25 Understanding influences on health behaviors in the workplace such as social support, and work schedules as well as family environment, may aide in developing worksite preventive strategies with the anticipation of chronic disease reduction and weight management. Purpose: The purpose of these studies was to explore general health status, health behaviors, and contributing factors to behavior and health outcomes in a sample of correctional supervisors. Measures of burnout, job meaning, job satisfaction, workplace social support, and work schedule (shift, overtime) were explored in relation to nutrition, physical activity, sleep, and health outcomes. A secondary aim was to explore the relationships between work and family health climate on obesity mediated by health behaviors. A multi-level approach was used to explore potential moderating effects of work schedule on the health climate, health behavior, and obesity relationships. Methods: This was a cross-sectional study on a sample of correctional supervisors (n=157) that completed an online healthy workplace survey. General health status, demographics, height/weight, psychosocial work characteristics, and perceived health climate for work and family were self-reported. Descriptive statistics, logistic ordinal regression and ANOVA tests were used to examine the relationships between work characteristics, health behaviors, and health outcome measures. Modeling techniques were used to test the mediating relationships of health behaviors on health climate and BMI. Further, moderated-mediation models were used to assess the multi-level effects of work schedule factors (shift, overtime) on health climate, health behaviors, and BMI. Results: Survey respondents had elevated rates of overweight (37.8%), obesity (50.6%), diabetes (10.2%), elevated cholesterol (24.2%), and anxiety/depression (14.6%) compared to the general population of U.S. adults (33.6%, 34.9%, 9.3%, 13.4%, and 9.8%, respectively). In addition, some of the tested models were supported suggesting that work (β=-0.03, p=0.16; β=-0.04, p=0.12) and family health climate (β=-0.06, p=0.12; β=-0.13, pConclusions: Consistent with previous research in COs,26 correctional supervisors portray elevated rates of chronic disease risk factors, evidenced by poor health behaviors and obesity rates that exceed the general public. Consideration of psychosocial work characteristics such as levels of burnout, job meaning, job satisfaction, workplace social support, and health climate may be one approach to produce sustainable health behavior change. Efforts to improve health climate in the workplace environment and acknowledgement of family health norms may produce behavior changes and thus, lower obesity rates to support economic savings and a public health impact.

Major Advisor

Pouran D. Faghri, MD, MS, FACSM