Motivational Signs, Artwork, and Stair Use in a University Building

  • Cynthia M. Ferrara University of Massachusetts Lowell
  • Deirdra Murphy University of Massachusetts Lowell


The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of two interventions, motivational signs and artwork, on stair use in a campus building. Methods: A longitudinal intervention study with no control group was designed to evaluate the effects of motivational signs and art murals on stair use in a six-story building. Sensors were installed in stairwells to monitor stair use. After a three week baseline period, two intervention periods (motivational signs and art murals, both three weeks in length) were utilized to encourage stair use. Weekly values for stair trips/day were calculated and expressed relative to estimated campus student enrollment and faculty and staff with offices in the building (means+SEM). Values were compared using ANOVA and post-hoc tests (p<0.05). Results: Stair use significantly increased relative to baseline after motivational signs were posted (0.08+0.01 vs. 0.11+0.01 stair trips/day/students, faculty and staff (SFS), p<0.05). Stair use had decreased to levels similar to baseline after creation of art murals (0.07+0.00 stair trips/day/SFS). Conclusions: These results suggest that motivational signs may be an inexpensive and effective way to increase stair use and daily physical activity, while artwork may not affect stair use. Additional studies are needed to determine the most effective intervention to increase stair use in different populations.

How to Cite
Ferrara, C. M., & Murphy, D. (2013). Motivational Signs, Artwork, and Stair Use in a University Building. Californian Journal of Health Promotion, 11(1), 76-83.