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Effects of an Intervention to Reduce Sitting at Work on Arousal, Fatigue, and Mood Among Sedentary Female Employees: A Parallel-Group Randomized Trial

Mailey, Emily L. PhD; Rosenkranz, Sara K. PhD; Ablah, Elizabeth PhD; Swank, Aaron BS; Casey, Kelsey MS

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: December 2017 - Volume 59 - Issue 12 - p 1166–1171
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000001131
Original Articles

Objective: The aim of this study was to determine whether individuals who participated in an intervention to reduce sitting at work would report changes in arousal, fatigue, and mood.

Methods: Inactive females with full-time sedentary occupations (N = 49) were randomly assigned to take short, frequent breaks (SBs) or longer, planned breaks (LBs) from sitting each workday for 8 weeks. At baseline and postintervention, participants completed measures of arousal, fatigue, and mood. Within- and between-group changes were examined.

Results: SB participants reduced sitting and reported moderate to large improvements in all affective outcomes except calmness (d = −0.44 to -0.82), whereas effect sizes were small for the LB group (d = 0.01 to -0.28). Only changes in negative affect differed between groups (P = 0.045).

Conclusion: This study suggests that taking short, frequent breaks from sitting may be an effective strategy for improving affective outcomes among sedentary female employees.

Department of Kinesiology, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas (Dr Mailey, Mr Swank); Department of Food, Nutrition, Dietetics and Health, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas (Dr Rosenkranz, Ms Casey); Physical Activity and Nutrition-Clinical Research Consortium, College of Human Ecology, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas (Drs Mailey, Rosenkranz, Ms Casey); and Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita, Wichita, Kansas (Dr Ablah).

Address correspondence to: Emily L. Mailey, PhD, Department of Kinesiology, 8 Natatorium, 920 Denison Ave., Manhattan, KS 66506 (

This study was funded by a University Small Research Grant from Kansas State University (USRG-3046).

Authors Mailey, Rosenkranz, Ablah, Swank, and Casey have no relationships/conditions/circumstances that present potential conflict of interest.

The JOEM editorial board and planners have no financial interest related to this research.

This study was registered retrospectively at NCT02609438.

Copyright © 2017 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine