An Alpha, Beta and Gamma Approach to Evaluating Occupational Health Organizational Interventions: Learning from the Measurement of Work-Family Conflict Change
The publicly available data used in this study was supported by the United States Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (U01HD051217, U01HD051218), United States Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. National Institute on Aging (U01AG027669), United States Department of Health and Human Services. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (U01OH008788, U01HD059773), United States Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (R01HL107240), William T. Grant Foundation, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, United States Department of Health and Human Services. Administration for Children and Families.
Occupational Health Science
Given the rapid growth of intervention research in the occupational health sciences and related fields (e.g. work-family), we propose that occupational health scientists adopt an "alpha, beta, gamma" change approach when evaluating intervention efficacy. Interventions can affect absolute change in constructs directly (alpha change), changes in the scales used to assess change (beta change) or redefinitions of the construct itself (gamma change). Researchers should consider the extent to which they expect their intervention to affect each type of change and select evaluation approaches accordingly. We illustrate this approach using change data from groups of IT professionals and health care workers participating in the STAR intervention, designed by the Work Family Health Network. STAR was created to effect change in employee work-family conflict via supervisor family-supportive behaviors and schedule control. We hypothesize that it will affect change via all three change approaches-gamma, beta, and alpha. Using assessment techniques from measurement equivalence approaches, we find results consistent with some gamma and beta change in the IT company due to the intervention; our results suggest that not accounting for such change could affect the evaluation of alpha change. We demonstrate that using a tripartite model of change can help researchers more clearly specify intervention change targets and processes. This will enable the assessment of change in a way that has stronger fidelity between the theories used and the outcomes of interest. Our research has implications for how to assess change using a broader change framework, which employs measurement equivalence approaches in order to advance the design and deployment of more effective interventions in occupational settings.
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Livingston, B.A., Pichler, S., Kossek, E.E. et al. An Alpha, Beta and Gamma Approach to Evaluating Occupational Health Organizational Interventions: Learning from the Measurement of Work-Family Conflict Change. Occup Health Sci (2022).