Effects of an employee exercise programme on mental health

Source: N. D. Emerson, D. A. Merrill, K. Shedd, R. M. Bilder, P. Siddarth, Occupation Medicine, Volume 67 Issue 2, March 2017
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From the abstract:
Background:
Prior research indicates that workplace wellness programmes (WWPs) are generally associated with lowered healthcare costs and improved employee health. Despite the importance of mental well-being in workplace productivity and attendance, few WWP studies have focused on improvements in psychological well-being.

Aims:
To examine the effects of the Bruin Health Improvement Program (BHIP), a 3-month exercise and nutrition WWP, on seven domains of health: physical and mental health, stress, energy level, social satisfaction, self-efficacy and quality of life.

Methods:
Using data from BHIP completers, we conducted multiple one-way multivariate analyses of variance and follow-up univariate t-tests to examine changes in physical and mental health, stress, energy level, social satisfaction, self-efficacy and quality of life. Effect sizes were also calculated post hoc to determine the magnitude of each effect.

Results:
Results for the 281 participants reveal significant improvements across all seven domains (P < 0.001). Effect sizes ranged from 0.19 to 0.67. Conclusions: This study is unique in revealing the effects of a WWP on multiple domains of psychological well-being. Given rising healthcare costs associated with mental health, targeting mental health through WWP may be an effective strategy for reducing indirect healthcare costs associated with absenteeism and presenteeism.