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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2019  |  Volume : 51  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 136-139

Effect of smartphone use on hand dexterity in medical students: an observational cross-sectional study


1 Occupational Therapy School and Centre, Seth G.S. Medical College and KEMH, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
2 Department of Occupational Therapy, Seth G.S. Medical College and KEMH, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Shilpshree Prashant Palsule
Occupational Therapy School and Centre, Seth G.S. Medical College and KEMH, Mumbai, Maharashtra
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ijoth.ijoth_32_19

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Background: The use of smartphone has increased over the past few years and is predicted to increase in future. The literature emphasizes the effect of smartphone usage on the neuromuscular activity and development of musculoskeletal disorders. The literature studying the effect of smartphone usage on hand function dexterity is limited. Hence, the study was formulated to find the effects of smartphone usage on hand dexterity using Purdue Pegboard Hand Dexterity Test and Smartphone Addiction Scale (SAS) as evaluation tools. Objectives: The research was designed to study the effect of smartphone use on bilateral hand dexterity in medical students. Design: An observational cross-sectional study design was chosen for the research. Methods: After institutional ethics committee approval, a sample of 220 medical students was recruited using convenient sampling for this observational cross-sectional study. SAS, a self-reporting scale, was administered to each medical student, and one-time assessment for hand dexterity on the standard Purdue Pegboard Hand Dexterity Test was performed. The scores of SAS were categorized as low (<86), moderate (86-106), and high (>106). The mean scores of the Purdue Pegboard Hand Dexterity Test were compared within the categories and with the available Indian norms using descriptive statistical methods, single sample t-test, and ANOVA analysis. Results: A positive correlation (r = 0.31, P = 0.00, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.18-0.42) was found between SAS scores and time spent on smartphone. Hand dexterity (Purdue Pegboard Hand Dexterity Test) scores did not show any statistically significant correlation with the time spent on the smartphone and SAS scores, except “dominant” and “total” scores of the test. The “Total” score correlated as weak negative with SAS scores (r = −0.16, P = 0.01, 95% CI: −0.14-0.11); on association analysis with the categories of SAS, statistically significant difference between the mean scores (P = 0.035, 95% CI: 40.33-41.47) was observed. The “Dominant” score correlated as weak negative with SAS scores (r = −0.155, P = 0.045, 95% CI: −0.149-0.116); the association analysis with the categories of SAS did not show any significant difference. Significant difference was observed between the mean hand dexterity test scores of our study sample and the available Indian norms of the Purdue Pegboard Hand Dexterity Test. Conclusion: This study concluded that the duration of active smartphone use (texting and scrolling) does not affect the hand dexterity. However, excessive smartphone usage (high SAS scores) may have a weak negative impact on dominant hand dexterity in medical students.


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