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Scoping the Need for a Tailored mHealth App to Improve Health and Well-being Behavioral Transformation in the Police: Exploring the Views of UK Police Workers via Web-Based Surveys and Client Meetings.

Swanston, E., Pulman, A., Dogan, H., Murphy, J. and Bitters, F., 2021. Scoping the Need for a Tailored mHealth App to Improve Health and Well-being Behavioral Transformation in the Police: Exploring the Views of UK Police Workers via Web-Based Surveys and Client Meetings. JMIR Formative Research, 5 (8), e28075.

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doi_10_219628075.pdf - Published Version
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DOI: 10.2196/28075


Background: Police officers often work long, unsocial hours in a highly pressurized environment and may experience difficulties in managing their health and well-being. Their jobs can be highly stressful and feature unusual working hours and multiple shift patterns. When considering the policing environment of 2021, many roles that were previously the domain of warranted officers are now being carried out by nonwarranted police staff equivalents. These police staff roles are relatively new to policing but put staff under some of the same stresses as police officers. A UK police force requested help to investigate technologies that could be used to improve health and well-being and research how these technologies could be used to measure and track health behavior change. Objective: Historical research studies need to be appraised in light of this new policing environment, and new research also needs to include this shift in dynamics when considering aspects of policing, including their health and well-being. This study explores police officer and staff attitudes toward and their use of existing health-related technology, highlights existing practices, and gathers views about how technology could be used more effectively. Methods: A web-based survey was completed by police officers and staff (N=213) during the initial period of the UK lockdown in 2020. The survey was designed to find the solutions that participants used outside of those supplied by their employer, identify issues or problems, and find what they would like a hypothetical app to focus on. Additional requirements data were captured through client meetings, including discussions concerning previously attempted solutions and those currently in place. Thematic analysis was undertaken to identify the key themes. Results: Attitudes toward and uses of existing health-related technology were captured, and existing practices were highlighted. Participants identified a need for an app to consider that a user was on shift—an important point, as many issues and problems with elements of their health and well-being involved shift work. Data also highlighted that a multifunctional tool would be more beneficial to participants than focusing on just 1 element. The key features and four domains were identified for app coverage. The prioritized order of importance of the four domains was activity, food and diet, sleep, and fluid intake. Conclusions: For police officers and staff, research data suggest that there is a previously unidentified requirement for a mobile app that could provide an easily accessible platform for them to use, regardless of the current location; one that could provide guidelines on diet, lifestyle habits, and health behavior to help the user make informed decisions to assist in personalized behavior change. Notably, one which is multifunctional and which also aligns effectively with the irregular shift patterns of its users.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:nutrition ; food ; behavior change ; mobile health ; police ; lifestyle management ; well-being ; mobile phone
Group:Faculty of Science & Technology
ID Code:35943
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:31 Aug 2021 14:53
Last Modified:14 Mar 2022 14:29


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