Understanding and overcoming barriers in unhealthy settings: A phenomenonological study of healthy truck drivers
In recent decades, obesity has grown in prevalence throughout the United States. Understanding why individuals engage in health-supportive behaviors is key in countering the obesity epidemic. Health promotion efforts guided by ecological theories of health behavior offer distinct advantages, and critical to these theories are settings. Increasingly, health promotion efforts target workplace settings, and, given the poor health outcomes of truck drivers, targeting truck driver workplace settings can be a vital leverage point in reducing obesity. The present study utilizes a transcendental phenomenological approach to explore the phenomenon of being a healthy truck driver thriving in unhealthy workplace settings. Twelve interviews, averaging two hours in duration, were conducted with drivers who have been able to sustain lifestyles and health outcomes over extended periods of time. This study sought to uncover resiliency factors, perceived barriers, and workplace settings-level factors that should be changed; in addition, the essential, invariant structure of this phenomenon was derived. Results identified seven broad themes: Access to health resources, barriers to health behaviors, recommended alternative settings, constituents of health behavior, motivation for health behaviors, attitude towards health behaviors, and trucking culture. Fifty-four subthemes were derived from these seven overall themes. The essential, invariant structure described the essence of the phenomenon in question and was validated through the process of member checking. The findings of the present study suggest two ecological theories of health behavior which appear to most effectively encapsulate the phenomenon in question, and thus can guide health promotion efforts for truck drivers.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Wichita State University, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Dept. of Psychology