Psychosocial work environment and leisure-time physical activity: The Stormont Study

Jonathan Houdmont, Stacy Clemes, Fehmidah Munir, Kelly Wilson, Robert Kerr, Ken Addley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Research findings on the relationship between the psychosocial work environment and leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) are equivocal. This might partly be due to studies having focused on a restricted set of psychosocial dimensions, thereby failing to capture all relevant domains.AIMS: To examine cross-sectional associations between seven psychosocial work environment domains and LTPA in a large sample of UK civil servants and to profile LTPA and consider this in relation to UK government recommendations on physical activity.METHODS: In 2012 Northern Ireland Civil Service employees completed a questionnaire including measures of psychosocial working conditions (Management Standards Indicator Tool) and LTPA. We applied bivariate correlations and linear regression analyses to examine relations between psychosocial working conditions and LTPA.RESULTS: Of 26000 civil servants contacted, 5235 (20%) completed the questionnaire. 24% of men and 17% of women reported having undertaken 30min or more of physical activity on five or more days in the past week. In men, job control (-0.08) and peer support (-0.05) were weakly but significantly negatively correlated with LTPA, indicating that higher levels of exposure to these psychosocial hazards was associated with lower levels of LTPA. Job role (-0.05) was weakly but significantly negatively correlated with LTPA in women. These psychosocial work characteristics accounted for 1% or less of the variance in LTPA.CONCLUSIONS: Longitudinal research to examine cause-effect relations between psychosocial work characteristics and LTPA might identify opportunities for psychosocial job redesign to increase employees' physical activity during leisure time.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-219
JournalOccupational Medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - Apr 2015


  • Civil servants
  • Management Standards Indicator Tool
  • leisure-time physical activity
  • psychosocial work environment
  • work-related stress.


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