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2017 Pilot Grants

Associations Among Workplace Factors, Perceived Work Ability, Length of Sick Leave, and Leisure Time Physical Activity in Working Breast Cancer Survivors
Principal Investigator: Lisa Rusch, MS, CEP, University of Connecticut

For the millions of breast cancer (BC) survivors of working age, sustained employment is a desired, yet often unattainable goal. Although the majority of BC survivors return to work within one year post-treatment, remaining employed is yet another challenge and may be due, in part, to prolonged sick leave following a BC diagnosis. This study will investigate the relationship between physical and psychological job characteristics, perceived work ability, the length of sick leave following BC diagnosis and participation in leisure-time physical activity (which supports faster return to work). Understanding the interplay between job characteristics, perceived work ability, physical activity, and sick leave duration may help guide return to work practices and job sustainability for employed BC survivors. 
Influence of Work on Aggressive Driving Behaviors: Understanding Mechanisms that Influence Employee Safety during the Commute
Principal Investigator: Katrina Burch, MA, University of Connecticut Storrs

Aggressive driving behaviors (ADBs) that result in road-rage incidents have been gaining in notoriety in recent years, especially with the proliferation of smart-phone use and their video-capturing capabilities. One class of drivers that is understudied with regards to ADBs (and potential ABDs) are employees commuting between work and home. The objectives of the proposed research are to establish the role of work attitudes and experiences (i.e., job stress, incivility, broken employer trust) in ADBs during the commute from work to home. Total Worker Health® (TWH) recognizes that factors at work and outside of work play a pivotal role in the safety and health of employees. Understanding how work influences ADBs may inform interventions and policies to protect against commuting-related safety and health risks.
New England Human Resource Managers’ Perceptions of Employer Preparedness to Promote Total Worker Health® in Emergencies 
Principal Investigator: Cora Roelofs, ScD

Disasters such as severe weather events, acts of terrorism, disease outbreaks, and chemical spills pose challenges to impacted businesses in many respects, including helping to assure the well-being of their employees inside and outside the workplace. We will collaboratively design and pilot an on-line survey of the 2,100 Northeast Human Resources Association (NEHRA) members representing over 1,100 diverse companies to assess human resource managers’ perception of employer preparedness to promote aspects of Total Worker Health® in the context of multi-threat emergencies and disasters. The survey will assess preparation for all-hazard events and readiness to deploy resources to assure both operational continuity and the well-being of employees. In addition to advancing the field of TWH to include emergency preparedness and disaster response, the findings inform human resources professionals in developing best practices guidance.