Boosting workplace stair utilization: A study of incremental reinforcement

Academic Article


  • Purpose: This study was designed to determine whether engagement in stair taking can be increased in a worksite setting through the provision of an employer-sponsored, behavior-based incentive system in which employees (members) accumulate points that can be redeemed for merchandise. Methods/Design: ChipRewards implemented stair utilization in one employer as a part of a larger health incentive engagement program. Using an AB (baseline-intervention) design, members (N = 216) were observed for 6 months (6.17.10 to 12.14.10 or 129 weekdays after excluding 52 weekend days) before the intervention (baseline) and after 6 months (1.1.11 to 6.30.11 with the same number of weekdays) of implementation. Results: Members were 84% female, 51% Caucasian, 48% African American, 3% Hispanic, and 45 years average age. The number of total stair transactions for all members for all days monitored increased from 5,070 to 38,900, and the average number of stair transactions per day rose from 39 to 301, representing over a 600% increase. The overall cost of incentives for stair utilization was $3,739.30 or $17.55 per member on average. Conclusion/ Implications: This study supports that stair usage in the workplace is a viable way to increase physical activity. This study adds to existing research that attempted to increase stair utilization through promotion only by adding a behavioral reinforcement strategy. Finally, this study demonstrates that a physical activity among employees at the worksite can be increased with minimal relative cost. © 2013 American Psychological Association.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Schumacher JE; Utley J; Sutton L; You Z; Horton T; Hamer T; Klapow JC
  • Start Page

  • 81
  • End Page

  • 86
  • Volume

  • 58
  • Issue

  • 1