Title

Development and Validation of a Measure of Workplace Climate for Healthy Weight Maintenance

Date of Award

2012

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Department

Psychology/Industrial-Organizational

First Advisor

Michael Zickar, PhD (Committee Chair)

Second Advisor

Scott Highhouse, PhD (Committee Member)

Third Advisor

Caroline Tompsett, PhD (Committee Member)

Fourth Advisor

Vipaporn Phuntumart, PhD (Committee Member)

Abstract

The obesity epidemic within the United States has resulted in a large and increasing proportion of the American workforce being categorized as overweight. As a result, an increasing amount of research is being conducted to better understand the antecedents and consequences of excess employee weight. One construct often of interest to organizational researchers wishing to understand and influence employee health is organizational climate. Unfortunately, a viable measure of climate as related to employee weight does not currently exist. The purpose of the present study was to remedy this by developing and validating a concise, psychometrically sound measure of climate for healthy weight. A large pool of items was developed based on surveys of full-time employees, and a sorting task was used to eliminate ambiguous items. Next, items were pilot tested by a sample of 338 full-time employees. An initial 3-factor structure was established through exploratory factor analysis, and the set of items was further reduced using reliability analysis and item response theory. Finally, the 14 retained items were completed by a sample of 360 full-time employees, representing 26 different organizations from across the United States. Multilevel modeling indicated that sufficient variance was explained by group membership to conclude that the measure tapping a group-level construct, and confirmatory factor analysis supported the hypothesized model of three subscale factors and an overall climate factor. Validation analyses provided evidence of construct validity. Implications and directions for future research are discussed.