Point of decision signs and stair use in a university worksite setting: General versus specific messages

Mary Eckhardt, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Point-of-decision signs to promote stair use have been found to be effective in various environments. However, these signs have been more consistently successful in public access settings that use escalators, such as shopping centers and transportation stations, compared to worksite settings, which are more likely to contain elevators that are not directly adjacent to the stairs. Therefore, this study tested the effectiveness of two point-of-decision sign prompts to increase stair use in a university worksite setting. Also, this study investigated the importance of the message content of the signs. One sign displayed a general health promotion message, while the other sign presented more specific information. Overall, this project examined whether the presence of the point-of-decision signs increases stair use. In addition, this research determined whether the general or specific sign promotes greater stair use. Inconspicuous observers measured stair use both before the signs were present and while they were posted. The study setting was the University of Texas School of Nursing, and the target population was anyone who entered the building, including employees, students, and visitors. The study was conducted over six weeks and included two weeks of baseline measurement, two weeks with the general sign posted, and two weeks with the specific sign posted. Each sign was displayed on a stand in the decision point area near the stairs and the elevator. Logistic regression was used to analyze the data. After adjustment for covariates, the odds of stair use were significantly greater during the intervention period than the baseline period. Furthermore, the specific sign period showed significantly greater odds of stair use than the general sign period. These results indicate that a point-of-decision sign intervention can be effective at promoting stair use in a university worksite setting and that a sign with a specific health information message may be more effective at promoting stair use than a sign with a general health promotion message. These findings can be considered when planning future worksite and university based stair promotion interventions.

Subject Area

Public health

Recommended Citation

Eckhardt, Mary, "Point of decision signs and stair use in a university worksite setting: General versus specific messages" (2012). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1518771.