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Understanding the Durability of a Fire Department Wellness Program

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Objectives: To understand the influences associated with durability and diffusion of benefits of a fire service wellness program. Methods: Qualitative assessment of group interviews. Results: Five years following a controlled worksite wellness trial, behavioral improvements were durable and had diffused to control participants. These findings were associated with firefighters' team orientation, enacted healthy norms and competitiveness regarding the results of annual health assessments. The original intervention trial appeared to initiate individual change that coalesced into group effects. Secondary influences included increasing public awareness about health, newly hired younger firefighters, and a modicum of administrative support. Culture shift was achieved at the workplace. Conclusions: Although the fire service is a unique occupation, these findings suggest general strategies to achieve durable positive health change in other occupational settings.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Washington State University Vancouver, Department of Teaching and Learning, Vancouver, WA 2: Oregon Health and Science University, Division of Health Promotion and Sports Medicine, Department of Medicine, Portland, OR 3: Arizona State University, Department of Psychology, Tempe, AZ 4: Cornell University, Human Development, Ithaca, NY

Publication date: September 1, 2013

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  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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