Publication Date

Fall 2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Sean Laraway


Antecedent Control Procedures, Physical Activity, Prevention Research, Stair Prompt, Stairs, Time-series Analysis

Subject Areas



Stair prompts can encourage stair use in both public and private settings and thereby increase overall physical activity. Stair visibility in multilevel buildings increases stair use. For this study, an intervention using a modified New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene stair prompt was implemented to encourage stair use in an academic setting. The modification included a time management theme, chosen because individuals in this setting may find taking the stairs to be faster than taking the elevator. To evaluate the effectiveness of the modified stair prompt, two buildings--one with hidden stairs and one with visible stairs--were selected for observing subjects' responses to the modified prompt. This 13-week observational study used a multiple-baseline design that included a baseline phase (no exposure to the stair prompt) followed by an intervention phase (exposure to the stair prompt).

Overall, the stair prompts had no measurable effect on ascending stair use. Men, as compared to women, were more likely to walk up hidden stairs; however, men and women were equally likely to walk up visible stairs. Thus, having visible stairs in multilevel buildings, rather than the presence of stair prompts, may be an alternative and perhaps more effective approach toward promoting stair use for physical activity.