Health promotion in the workplace: Assessing stress and lifestyle with an intranet tool

Daniela Lucini, Nadia Solaro, Alessandro Lesma, Veronique Bernadette Gillet, Massimo Pagani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Chronic noncommunicable conditions, particularly cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, are the major causes of death and morbidity in both industrialized and low- to middle-income countries. Recent epidemiological investigations suggest that management of lifestyle factors, such as stress and lack of physical activity, could have an important value in cardiometabolic conditions, while information technology tools could play a significant facilitatory role. Objectives: The objective of our study was to verify the feasibility of using a private website, directed to the workers of a major Italian company, to describe their health profile and lifestyle and work habits using an ad hoc self-administered questionnaire. Methods: We administered anonymous multiple choice Web-based questionnaires to 945 participants (683 completed the task) as part of an ongoing health promotion program in a multinational company. Qualitative and quantitative data were synthesized with nonlinear principal component analysis to construct indicators (ie, variables) for stress, control, and lifestyle domains. Considering in addition absenteeism, the Calinski-Harabasz statistic and cluster analysis jointly differentiated seven clusters, which displayed different distributions of standardized classification variables. The final step consisted in assessing the relationship of the resulting seven subject typologies with personal data, illnesses, and metabolic syndrome status, carried out for the most part with descriptive methods. Results: Statistical analyses singled out two not-overlapping domains of stress and control, as well as three not-overlapping domains of physical activity, smoking, and alcohol habits. The centroids of the seven clusters generated by the procedure were significantly (P <.001) different considering all possible 21 comparisons between couples of groups. Percentage distributions of variables describing personal information (gender, age group, work category, illness status, or metabolic syndrome) within participant typologies show some noteworthy findings: females, workers aged 35-44 years, junior white collar workers, and respondents reporting illness were more prevalent in the stress group than in the overall studied population; preclinical metabolic syndrome status was more prevalent in the group with higher alcohol consumption. Absentees reported more illness. Conclusions: The present Intranet-based study shows the potential of applying diverse statistical techniques to deal jointly with qualitative and quantitative self-reported data. The resulting formal description of subject typologies and their relationship with personal characteristics might provide a convenient tool for supporting health promotion in the work environment.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere88
JournalJournal of Medical Internet Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2011


  • Lifestyle
  • Prevention
  • Risk factor
  • Stress
  • Web-based questionnaire

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics


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