Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Chair(s)

M. Scott DeBerard


M. Scott DeBerard


Susan L. Crowley


JoAnn Tschanz


Michael Levin


Edward Heath


Sedentary time and physical inactivity have negative impacts on health and health costs as well as an impact on workplace wellbeing. There is evidence that people are more sedentary and engage in less physical activity on work days. Additionally, sedentary behavior has been found to increase distress and negative mood. Activity trackers such as Fitbits are a useful way to collect and intervene on sedentary behavior and potentially impact other factors of workplace wellbeing in real time and promote self-monitoring. The reminder to move prompts that are now part of Fitbit models provide an innovative and simple way to intervene on workplace sedentary behavior with hourly movement prompts.

This study examined the impact of an intervention on sedentary time at work with Fitbit reminders to move and what impact the intervention had on other factors of workplace wellbeing including depression, positive and negative affect, job stress, and productivity. Participants were university employees who wore a Fitbit device for three weeks and completed pre- and post-study measures. For the first week, the Fitbit displayed only the watch screen with no access to other data. This was done to establish baseline data. For the second week, the Fitbit device and Fitbit app allowed for self-monitoring by displaying the activity being tracked, including steps, distance, calories expenditure, and stairs walked. For the third week, the sedentary time reduction was implemented by activating the Fitbit application reminder to move. This caused the Fitbit to vibrate at the 50-minute mark of the hour if the participant had not moved 250 steps in that time. Results show that having the reminders to move prompt activated decreased sedentary time at work and increased steps throughout the day on work days. These changes in sedentary time significantly contributed to decreases in depression. From the start of the study to after the intervention, on average participants reported significantly less depression, negative affect, and stress and more positive affect, affect balance, social functioning, physical functioning, and productivity at work. The benefits of in the moment self-monitoring and an intervention around sedentary time with Fitbits on factors of workplace wellbeing are discussed as well as limitations, and future directions.



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