Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences


Sport and Exercise Psychology

Committee Chair

Sam Zizzi

Committee Co-Chair

Christiaan Abildso

Committee Member

Damien Clement

Committee Member

Nidia Henderson

Committee Member

Bill Reger-Nash


Worksite wellness programs (WWPs) have evolved over the last several decades as a way to positively impact employees' health, and to manage rising healthcare costs. Despite the impact that WWPs can have both clinically and financially, participation rates in many programs remain low. Some research has reported success in increasing participation and engagement through tailoring programs to fit employee preferences. The purpose of this study was to investigate the wellness programming preferences of state employees in West Virginia. A secondary purpose was to identify how these preferences differ by health risk, worksite wellness participation, age, and gender. Respondents (N = 18,791) completed a survey that was developed in collaboration with the Public Employees Insurance Agency of West Virginia, with respondents reporting strong interest in nutrition (77.6%), physical activity (81.0%), and stress management programming (61.1%), and with a `personalized webpage' being the most preferred contact method. Interest in wellness programming was higher for females, previous participants, and those who were classified as `high risk.' Focus groups (N = 4) were also conducted at worksites around the state, with employees (n = 24) reporting a lack of knowledge surrounding what programming was offered, and how to get involved. Participants also suggested that future programming should include education tailored to how they could become healthier. Overall the results highlight a lack of familiarity with wellness programs, which was a major barrier to participation. However, interest in wellness programming was high, which suggests that if employees are made aware of what is available, these programs might be taken advantage of.