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Who provides physical activity support in the workplace? Implications for peer led interventions

Edmunds, Sarah and Sitch, Matthew and Lowry, Ruth (2019) 'Who provides physical activity support in the workplace? Implications for peer led interventions.' Health Education Journal. ISSN 0017-8969

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Abstract

Objective: Social support is one mechanism through which peer support physical activity interventions influence behaviour. The aim of this study was to explore the sources and characteristics of social support for physical activity amongst work colleagues. Design: A sequential mixed methods approach was used. First, social network analysis was utilised to map the sources of social support. Then interviews and focus groups were used to explore the characteristics of this support. Setting: One UK public sector employer. Method: Using an online survey 99 employees (40 men; Mage= 40±12 years) reported their physical activity and named specific colleagues who provided four forms of social support for physical activity (emotional, informational, companionship, validation). Social network diagrams for each support network were visualised using UCINET and Netdraw. Individuals identified as most frequently providing support for physical activity participated in one-to-one interviews (n=6) to discuss their perspective on social support for physical activity in the workplace. Three focus groups explored the characteristics of social support for physical activity amongst employees identified within the networks as support seekers or disconnected. These qualitative data were analysed thematically. Results: Different patterns of relationships between employees were demonstrated for the four forms of support with informational support provided most frequently and validation least frequently. Qualitative data illustrate how each form of support was provided and received, as well as further perceived characteristics of social support. Conclusion: These findings could help inform the future selection and training of peer physical activity champions in workplace settings and more widely.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Qualitative, mixed methods, peer support, physical activity, social network analysis, social support, workplace
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Sport, Rehabilitation and Exercise Sciences, School of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 06 Jan 2020 09:44
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2020 10:15
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/26351

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