Date of Award

January 2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Kinesiology & Public Health Education

First Advisor

James R. Whitehead


Wellness programs have been implemented by companies and other organizations for various reasons since before the 1970s, and many have focused on the promotion of physical activity as a health-promoting behavior. Promoting physical activity via stairwell prompting at the workplace has become very popular in recent years. This study tested an intervention based upon motivational signage placed in the stairwells of a University administrative building, as well as daily emails sent to the employees in the building. Key concepts from Self-Determination Theory (SDT) and a sub-theory of SDT, Organismic Integration Theory (OIT) were integrated into the messages of the posters and emails encouraging stair use among employees of the building. Twelve motivational signs were placed in the stairwells and in front of elevator openings, and five motivational emails were sent out during the five-day intervention period. Automatic "people counters" were used to track use of the elevators and stairs. After the intervention, building employees were invited to complete a questionnaire designed to assess whether their SDT-related perceptions were influenced by the motivational e-mails and posters.

Chi square analyses of the counter data showed that the motivational messages increased stair use by individuals using the building. The staircase mainly used by building employees showed the largest increase in use during the intervention. The questionnaire responses indicated that three out of the four SDT-related motivational perceptions were enhanced by the e-mail messages and stairwell posters.