Ramya Chari, PhD, RAND Corporation; Elizabeth L. Petrun Sayers, PhD, NIH (Current); Steve Sauter, PhD, Amentum (NIOSH Contractor); Chia-Chia Chang, MPH, MBA, NIOSH; Wenjing Huang, PhD, RAND Corporation; Gwenith G. Fisher, PhD, Colorado State University and Colorado School of Public Health

The purpose is to operationalize indicators for worker well-being to allow researchers, practitioners, policy-makers, and others to improve organizational and community policies, programs, and practices to promote worker safety, health, and well-being.

The concept of well-being captures many facets of the human experience, and researchers are beginning to consider well-being as a major outcome used to evaluate the effectiveness and impacts of policies designed to enhance the public’s health. As noted by Schulte et al, “…some definitions focus on the state of the individual worker, whereas others focus on working conditions, and some focus on life conditions.”1 Well-being has been linked to a wide variety of individual, organizational, and societal outcomes. However, there has been no consistent definition of the concept of worker well-being or a measurement tool. To address this gap, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the RAND Corporation embarked on an effort to develop a conceptual framework and operationalize indicators for worker well-being. During the past three Work, Stress, and Health conferences, we have reported on the progress of this effort. This poster will present the results of the final NIOSH Worker Well-Being Questionnaire (WellBQ), implications, and opportunities for future research.

The first phase of the project was a multidisciplinary literature review and identification of key conceptual issues that informed the framework development. The framework consists of five domains: (1) Workplace physical environment and safety climate, (2) Workplace policies and culture, (3) Health status, (4) Work evaluation and experience, (5) Home, community, and society.

The second phase of the project was the development and validation of a survey instrument based on the framework to measure worker well-being. We reviewed existing validated instruments and extracted items relevant to the five domains. Through an expert panel process, we prioritized and selected the items for inclusion in the instrument. We field tested the instrument in a sample of 975 working adults.

The third phase consisted of psychometric testing and finalization of the instrument. Analysis conducted on the results include item- and scale-level descriptive analyses, exploratory factor analysis (EFA), confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and examination of item characteristic data via Item Response Theory (IRT) analyses, examination of correlations among items and scales, and computation of internal consistency reliability statistics for scales.

Based on the results, multi-question scales were created, less-productive items were eliminated, and minor edits were made to improve clarity.

The instrument demonstrated adequate reliability and concurrent validity. The final 126 items were divided among 23 subdomains and 52 subdomain constructs. Altogether we developed five indices and 16 scales that included at least two items among the five domains. It also includes 31 single items across the five domains. The Work Evaluation and Experience domain included four scales and 10 single items. The Workplace Policies and Culture domain included three scales, two indices, and three single items. The Workplace Physical Environment and Safety Climate domain included four scales and three single items. The Health Status domain included four scales, two indices, and 13 single items. Finally, the Home, Community, and Society domain included one scale, one index, and two single items. The questionnaire can be completed in about 15 minutes.

The NIOSH WellBQ has many potential applications. It is designed to capture multiple facets of well-being to both broadly characterize the well-being of workers and inspect specific aspects of worker well-being. The questionnaire is designed to acquire data to develop a better understanding of the overall well-being of workers across the workforce as a whole, or within various worker subpopulations, and to identify aspects of worker well-being in need of special attention.

The NIOSH WellBQ is a new instrument whose qualities are supported by extensive psychometric analyses based upon a large pilot study. As with all new instruments, the NIOSH WellBQ has limitations at this stage of development. The limitations will be addressed through accumulation of data and development of information in the future. For example, the available information is not sufficient to establish norms for measures across worker populations and industry and occupational sectors. Similarly, the available information is not sufficient to develop algorithms for creation of summary scores to characterize worker well-being. Applying the NIOSH WellBQ in a variety of workplace settings and among various worker populations will provide the information needed to address these limitations.

As data are accumulated through widespread use of the NIOSH WellBQ in a diversity of settings, we anticipate that researchers, practitioners, and policymakers will be able to establish benchmarks or for worker well-being across different working populations; identify changes in worker well-being due to changes in public or organizational policies; and investigate effects of deliberate interventions to influence worker well-being and associated outcomes. The NIOSH WellBQ is a reliable and valid instrument that comprehensively measures worker well-being.

Tags: Applicable to all occupations/industries, Applied research, Comprehensive Approaches to Healthy Work Design and Well-Being, Organization- and Job-Level Environments and Practices, Research and Intervention Methods, Research Methodology, Research-to-practice, Surveillance, Total Worker Health