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Association Between Smartphone Use and Musculoskeletal Discomfort in Adolescent Students

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Despite the substantial increase in the number of adolescent smartphone users, few studies have investigated the behavioural effects of smartphone use on adolescent students as it relates to musculoskeletal discomfort. The purpose of this study was to explore the association between smartphone use and musculoskeletal discomfort in students at a Taiwanese junior college. We hypothesised that the duration of smartphone use would be associated with increased instances of musculoskeletal discomfort in these students. This cross-sectional study employed a convenience sampling method to recruit students from a junior college in southern Taiwan. All the students (n = 315) were asked to answer questionnaires on smartphone use. A descriptive analysis, stepwise regression, and logistic regression were used to examine specific components of smartphone use and their relationship to musculoskeletal discomfort. Nearly half of the participants experienced neck and shoulder discomfort. The stepwise regression results indicated that the number of body parts with discomfort (F = 6.009, p < 0.05) increased with hours spent using ancillary smartphone functions. The logistic regression analysis showed that the students who talked on the phone >3 h/day had a higher risk of upper back discomfort than did those who talked on the phone <1 h/day [odds ratio (OR) = 4.23, p < 0.05]. This study revealed that the relationship between smartphone use and musculoskeletal discomfort is related to the duration of smartphone ancillary function use. Moreover, hours spent talking on the phone was a predictor of upper back discomfort.

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This study was supported by Shu-Zen Junior College of Medicine and Management (SZPT10303006).

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Correspondence to Jer-Hao Chang.

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Yang, SY., Chen, MD., Huang, YC. et al. Association Between Smartphone Use and Musculoskeletal Discomfort in Adolescent Students. J Community Health 42, 423–430 (2017).

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