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Impact of school staff health on work productivity in secondary schools in Massachusetts
Family Medicine and Community Health Publications and Presentations
  • Heather J. Alker, University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Monica L. Wang, University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Lori Pbert, University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Nancy Thorsen, Bedford High School
  • Stephenie C. Lemon, University of Massachusetts Medical School
UMMS Affiliation
Department of Family Medicine and Community Health; Department of Medicine, Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine; UMass Worcester Prevention Research Center
Publication Date
Document Type
Absenteeism; Adult; Depression; *Efficiency, Organizational; *Faculty; Female; Health Status; Humans; Longitudinal Studies; Male; Massachusetts; Middle Aged; Obesity; Risk Factors; Schools; Smoking; Socioeconomic Factors
BACKGROUND: Healthy, productive employees are an integral part of school health programs. There have been few assessments of work productivity among secondary school staff. This study describes the frequency of 3 common health risk factors--obesity, depressive symptoms, and smoking--and their impact on work productivity in secondary school employees. METHODS: Employees of secondary schools in Massachusetts (N = 630) participated in a longitudinal weight gain prevention intervention study. Assessment completed at baseline, 1-year and 2-year follow-up included survey assessments of health risk factors as well as measurements for height, weight, and body mass index (BMI). The survey also included a depression inventory and Work Limitations Questionnaire. Data analysis included multivariate mixed effect models to identify productivity differences in relation to BMI, depressive symptoms, and smoking in this population stratified by position type (teacher and other school staff). RESULTS: The sample included 361 teachers and 269 other school staff. Obesity, depressive symptoms, and smoking were significantly associated with work productivity, including workdays missed because of health concerns (absenteeism) and decreases in on-the-job productivity because of health concerns (presenteeism). CONCLUSIONS: Three common health conditions, namely obesity, depressive symptoms, and smoking, adversely affect the productivity of high school employees.
  • depressive symptoms,
  • employee health promotion,
  • mental health,
  • obesity,
  • school employee health,
  • smoking and tobacco,
  • work productivity
DOI of Published Version
J Sch Health. 2015 Jun;85(6):398-404. doi: 10.1111/josh.12266. Link to article on publisher's site
Related Resources
Link to Article in PubMed
PubMed ID
Citation Information
Heather J. Alker, Monica L. Wang, Lori Pbert, Nancy Thorsen, et al.. "Impact of school staff health on work productivity in secondary schools in Massachusetts" Vol. 85 Iss. 6 (2015) ISSN: 0022-4391 (Linking)
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