Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Industrial and Organizational Psychology


Dr. Robert R. Sinclair

Committee Member

Dr. Patrick Rosopa

Committee Member

Dr. Paul Merritt

Committee Member

Dr. James McCubbin


Obesity, mental health problems, and absenteeism are both economic and health burdens for employers and employees. Research suggests that physical and psychosocial hazards in the workplace contribute to health risks and health problems among employees. There is a need for researchers to examine how exercise, diet, and age interact with the negative effects of workplace hazards upon health. Hypotheses 1a through 3b predicted that physical and psychosocial workplace hazards would negatively impact body mass index (BMI), general mental health, and sickness absences. Further, hypotheses 4a through 9b predicted that exercise and diet would buffer stress from occupational hazards upon BMI, mental health, and sickness absences. Finally, hypotheses 10a through 11b predicted that age would act as a moderator between occupational hazards and employee health outcomes. A sample of 16, 651 civil servant workers from the Northern Ireland Civil Service Workforce were examined. The data was split into two groups based on salary- senior level pay grade and lower level pay grade. The results confirmed hypotheses 1a, 1b, 3a, 3b, 11a, and 11b for the lower level pay grade, but failed to support hypotheses 2 and 4a through 10b. Additionally, the results confirmed hypotheses 1b for the senior level pay grade; however the results failed to confirm hypotheses 1a and hypotheses 2 through 11b. Importantly, physical activity was related to a lower BMI, improved mental health, and less sickness absences, while a healthy diet was related to a lower BMI for both pay grades. Promoting physical activity and a healthy diet are viable methods for improving employee health.