Research Projects

HITEC II: Health improvement for correctional officers

Health Improvement Through Training and Employee Control (HITEC)

Correctional officers are a relatively understudied working population, but an important segment of the public safety workforce. Their job tasks, while usually sedentary, are psychologically stressful and interspersed with emergency responses that often produce injuries. Working third shift and frequent mandatory overtime are also common requirements, especially for new officers. 

From 2006 to 2011, CPH-NEW investigators studied physical and mental health of public sector correctional officers as part of the HITEC I study. We observed a steady progression of chronic disease risk factors within the first five years of employment, including obesity/overweight, hypertension, physical inactivity, high levels of depression, and poor sleep and nutritional habits.

Using the ground work from HITEC I, we are now studying how correctional facilities can promote better musculoskeletal fitness, weight management, and safety for officers through interventions that engage the officers in designing customized programs, policies, and facility improvements. 

HITEC II aims: 

  1. Compare the effectiveness of two types of participatory intervention approaches to see which method works best for reducing workplace exposures and improving health. 
  2. Assess whether introducing preventive health promotion for new recruits can help correctional officers avoid declines in health that are commonly seen during the first years of employment.

More information about the HITEC II Study can be found at the other CPH-NEW website at University of Connecticut Health Center.