Research article Topical Sections

Peer champions responses to nudge-based strategies designed to reduce prolonged sitting behaviour: Lessons learnt and implications from lived experiences of non-compliant participants

  • Received: 24 March 2022 Revised: 28 June 2022 Accepted: 05 July 2022 Published: 12 July 2022
  • Occupational sedentariness is problematic for office-based workers because of their prolonged sitting periods and the advent of technology which reduces work-based movement. A common workplace strategy to deal with this preventable health risk is to have workers engage in brief movement breaks throughout the workday. To date, the use of interventions underpinned by individual self-regulation has had less than optimal impact on changing workers sedentary work behaviours. An alternative design for workplace interventions is the use of nudge theory. Nudge theory incorporates strategies that are delivered at the point of choice designed to influence individual decision making regarding alternative behaviour options. In this study, desk-based workers were exposed to two nudge strategies which suggested alternative behaviours of regular standing and taking movement breaks during work periods to the default behaviours of prolonged sitting and sedentary work behaviour. A small group of women managers who served as peer champions (n = 6), withdrew early from the study, and then took part in an exit interview to gain an understanding of their experiences of being exposed to the two nudge strategies. Verbatim transcripts were analysed using inductive, reflexive thematic analysis. Two major themes with seven second order themes central to their experiences were extracted: facilitative behaviour and feelings (advocacy, acceptance & facilitative burden) and dysfunctional behaviours and feelings (dysfunctional behaviour & feelings, control, reactance & presenteeism). Participants initially perceived a positive exchange associated with exposure to nudge strategies. Yet, participants' emotional connection to their work roles and behaviour were perceived as a negative exchange. Participants cited numerous maladaptive feelings because of a perception of incongruency with the established work normative behaviour. These findings reveal that nudge strategies of reduced choice and social norms are viable, but perceptions of monitoring can moderate adherence.

    Citation: P. Dean Cooley, Casey P. Mainsbridge, Vaughan Cruickshank, Hongwei Guan, Anjia Ye, Scott J. Pedersen. Peer champions responses to nudge-based strategies designed to reduce prolonged sitting behaviour: Lessons learnt and implications from lived experiences of non-compliant participants[J]. AIMS Public Health, 2022, 9(3): 574-588. doi: 10.3934/publichealth.2022040

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  • Occupational sedentariness is problematic for office-based workers because of their prolonged sitting periods and the advent of technology which reduces work-based movement. A common workplace strategy to deal with this preventable health risk is to have workers engage in brief movement breaks throughout the workday. To date, the use of interventions underpinned by individual self-regulation has had less than optimal impact on changing workers sedentary work behaviours. An alternative design for workplace interventions is the use of nudge theory. Nudge theory incorporates strategies that are delivered at the point of choice designed to influence individual decision making regarding alternative behaviour options. In this study, desk-based workers were exposed to two nudge strategies which suggested alternative behaviours of regular standing and taking movement breaks during work periods to the default behaviours of prolonged sitting and sedentary work behaviour. A small group of women managers who served as peer champions (n = 6), withdrew early from the study, and then took part in an exit interview to gain an understanding of their experiences of being exposed to the two nudge strategies. Verbatim transcripts were analysed using inductive, reflexive thematic analysis. Two major themes with seven second order themes central to their experiences were extracted: facilitative behaviour and feelings (advocacy, acceptance & facilitative burden) and dysfunctional behaviours and feelings (dysfunctional behaviour & feelings, control, reactance & presenteeism). Participants initially perceived a positive exchange associated with exposure to nudge strategies. Yet, participants' emotional connection to their work roles and behaviour were perceived as a negative exchange. Participants cited numerous maladaptive feelings because of a perception of incongruency with the established work normative behaviour. These findings reveal that nudge strategies of reduced choice and social norms are viable, but perceptions of monitoring can moderate adherence.



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    Conflict of interest



    The authors declare that they have no competing interests. De-identified transcripts are available from the second author upon request.

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