Designing Employee Health Contracts for a Workplace that is Slim by Design

25 Pages Posted: 7 Mar 2013

See all articles by Rebecca Robbins

Rebecca Robbins

New York University (NYU) - Grossman School of Medicine

Brian Wansink


Date Written: March 6, 2013


Would employee health contracts be viable for workplace health promotion (WHP)? Two studies explore the benefit and drawbacks of such a policy, as well as the standards and incentives for promoting employee health. Two studies were conducted: Study 1 is a qualitative study that collected salient employee attitudes toward and design factors for employment health contracts among a subset of the target population (n=8), Study 2 tested these factors with a closed-end questionnaire among a broader sample of the target population (n=147). Regression analyses and hypothesis testing are conducted to understand the demographic variables that contribute to attitudes toward the policy, and beliefs for how it should be structured. Results revealed the lowest support from high body mass index (BMI) respondents. There was otherwise moderate to strong support across demographic groups for the policy and use of rewards, yet far less for use of consequences. Previous research has addressed how rewards can promote good health, with far less attention to consequences. This study is one of the first to comprehensively address the role of structuring consequences for poor employee behavior, and demographic groups that offer the lowest support for workplace wellness initiatives. Future research and policy implications are for WHP initiatives are discussed.

Keywords: Occupational Health, Employee Incentive Plans, Health Promotion

Suggested Citation

Robbins, Rebecca and Wansink, Brian, Designing Employee Health Contracts for a Workplace that is Slim by Design (March 6, 2013). Available at SSRN: or

Rebecca Robbins (Contact Author)

New York University (NYU) - Grossman School of Medicine ( email )

550 First Ave.
VZ30, Office 626
New York, NY 10016
United States

Brian Wansink

Retired ( email )

607-319-0123 (Phone)

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