Journal of Community Health

, Volume 42, Issue 3, pp 423–430 | Cite as

Association Between Smartphone Use and Musculoskeletal Discomfort in Adolescent Students

  • Shang-Yu Yang
  • Ming-De Chen
  • Yueh-Chu Huang
  • Chung-Ying Lin
  • Jer-Hao Chang
Original Paper


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.


Smartphone Musculoskeletal discomfort Adolescent 



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

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shang-Yu Yang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ming-De Chen
    • 3
  • Yueh-Chu Huang
    • 4
  • Chung-Ying Lin
    • 5
  • Jer-Hao Chang
    • 2
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of Occupational TherapyShu Zen Junior College of Medicine and ManagementKaohsiungTaiwan
  2. 2.Institute of Allied Health Science, College of MedicineNational Cheng Kung UniversityTainanTaiwan
  3. 3.Department of Occupational TherapyKaohsiung Medical UniversityKaohsiungTaiwan
  4. 4.Department of Physical TherapyShu Zen Junior College of Medicine and ManagementKaohsiungTaiwan
  5. 5.Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Faculty of Health and Social SciencesThe Hong Kong Polytechnic UniversityHong KongHong Kong
  6. 6.Department of Occupational Therapy, College of MedicineNational Cheng Kung UniversityTainanTaiwan

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