Thriving or surviving: staff health metrics and lifestyle behaviours within an Irish higher education setting

Type Article

Journal Article


A. Bickerdike; J. Dinneen; C. O' Neill

Year of publication



International Journal of Workplace Health Management





Purpose: Due to the international paucity of empirical evidence, this study aimed to investigate the health metrics and lifestyle behaviours of a staff cohort in a higher education institution (HEI) in Ireland. Design/methodology/approach: Data were collected from 279 (16.4% response rate) HEI staff (academic, management, clerical/support), via a web-based health questionnaire that incorporated validated measures such as the Mental Health Index-5, Energy and Vitality Index, Cohen's Perceived Stress Scale (short form) and the AUDIT-C drinking subscale. A cluster analytical procedure was used to examine the presence of distinct clusters of individuals exhibiting either optimal or sub-optimal health behaviours. Findings: A multitude of concerning patterns were identified including poor anthropometric profiles (64.4% of males overweight/obese), excessive occupational sitting time (67.8% of females sitting for = 4 h per day), hazardous drinking among younger staff (38.2% of 18–34 year olds), sub-optimal sleep duration on weeknights (82.2% less than 8 h), less favourable mean psychometric indices than the general Irish population, and insufficient fruit and vegetable intake (62.1% reporting