Barriers and facilitators for participation in workplace health promotion programs: results from peer-to-peer interviews among employees

Denise J. M. Smit, Karin I. Proper, Josephine A. Engels, Jennifer M. D. Campmans, Sandra H. van Oostrom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Workplace health promotion programs (WHPPs) have shown to be effective in improving lifestyle behaviors of employees. Despite potential benefits for employees, participation rates are generally low. The aim of this study was to gain deeper insight into barriers and facilitators for participation in WHPPs prior to implementation according to employees. Methods: Peer-to-peer interviewing, a method derived from citizen science, was used to actively involve employees in the data collection. Employees working in the cleaning-, ICT- and facility-sector were trained to interview their co-workers. Interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim. Thematic analysis was performed using the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research (CFIR), complemented with the constructs ‘interpersonal factors’ and ‘intrapersonal factors’ from the social ecological model. Data were coded deductively and inductively, and rated by two researchers independently. Results: Fourteen peer-interviewers conducted 62 peer-to-peer interviews. Main barriers for participation in WHPPs were an unsupportive organizational culture where lifestyle is not a common topic and programs that are not tailored to their needs. Support from peers and supervisors were facilitators. The availability of organizational resources, such as facilities and financial compensation, support participation. Conclusions: To enhance participation of employees in WHPPs it is recommended to take into account the barriers and facilitators identified in this study. For instance, employees should be involved in the development and implementation of WHPPS by the employer and their needs and available resources should be taken into account. This may lead to more successful implementation and higher participation rates in future WHPPs.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health
Early online date2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2022


  • Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research
  • Employees
  • Integrated workplace health promotion
  • Participation
  • Peer-to-peer interviews
  • Social ecological model

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