Quality assurance for workplace health promotion. Validation of the quality criteria for WHP in the Austrian quality management system



Workplace health promotion (WHP) is being increasingly employed as a corporate strategy, being at its most effective when it is implemented in a high-quality and sustainable way. Based on normative principles, a quality management system for WHP was introduced in Austria in 2004. This article examines the measurement quality to validate this quality assurance system.

Subjects and methods

From 2014 to 2017, WHP projects have been assessed rigorously by means of a standardized procedure using 15 quality criteria. The foundations for this are an application submitted by the company, and the decision as to whether a WHP quality certificate is awarded or not is based on the overall assessment. Data are available for the 1131 Austrian companies. Based on theoretical and methodological considerations, the measurement quality was investigated in relation to the overall quality of WHP projects with the help of structural equation models.


The confirmatory one-factor analysis revealed satisfactory construct validity (λ ≥ 0.40) and high reliability for the overall scale (α = 0.87), although the fit was not acceptable. The bi-factor analysis with a general factor (GF) and three specific residual factors resulted in good model fit. The GF explained most of the common variance (ECV = 63.9%); the overall scale was also characterized by its high reliability (αGF = 0.90, ωHGF = 0.82).


The results justify the creation of an overall scale for assessing the quality of WHP. The mean varied by the year of submission, and there was a significant difference between both small/large enterprises and initial/renewal awards. The measurement tool can be considered a good screening instrument for awarding the WHP quality certificate.

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Fig. 1
Fig. 2


  1. 1.

    A non-significant χ2 test is preferable; however, the test tends to incorrectly reject models based on a large sample (Bollen 1989).



Factor loading

(∑ λ)2 :

Sum of loadings squared

(∑ λ2):

Sum of squared loadings


Confirmatory bi-factor analysis


Confirmatory factor analysis


Comparative fit index


Confidence interval


Degrees of freedom


Explained common variance


European Network for Workplace Health Promotion


Fonds Gesundes Österreich


General factor


Initial award


Intra-class correlation


Large enterprise


Arithmetic mean


Multi-group confirmatory bi-factor analysis


Number of valid cases


Österreichisches Netzwerk Betriebliche Gesundheitsförderung


p value


Quality indicator


Renewal award


Residual factor


Root mean standard error of approximation


Standard deviation

s3 :


s4 :



Small enterprise


Tucker-Lewis index


Workplace health promotion


Weighted least square means and variance adjusted


Cronbach’s alpha

χ2 :



Omega hierarchical


Omega specific


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We are grateful for the feedback from Anita Bregenzer, which helped us improve the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Gert Lang.

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Lang, G., Heigl, C. & Jiménez, P. Quality assurance for workplace health promotion. Validation of the quality criteria for WHP in the Austrian quality management system. J Public Health (Berl.) 27, 695–706 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10389-018-1005-6

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  • Workplace health promotion
  • Quality assurance
  • Confirmatory factor analysis
  • Validity
  • Reliability