Pacific B usiness R eview I nternational

A Refereed Monthly International Journal of Management Indexed With THOMSON REUTERS(ESCI)
ISSN: 0974-438X
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RNI No.:RAJENG/2016/70346
Postal Reg. No.: RJ/UD/29-136/2017-2019
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Prof. Mahima Birla
(Editor in Chief)

Dr. Khushbu Agarwal
(Editor)

Ms. Asha Galundia
(Circulation Manager)

Editorial Team

Mr. Ramesh Modi

A Refereed Monthly International Journal of Management

HEALTH RELATED PROBLEMS AND COMPUTER USE AMONG STUDENTS

Lalita Kumari

Senior Research Fellow

Guru Nanak Dev University, Distt-Amritsar, 143001, Punjab (India)

ABSTRACT

This study is an attempt toestimate prevalence of computer related health problems/musculoskeletal discomforts among college students and to investigate association of health problems/musculoskeletal discomforts with duration of computing. 300 college students were studied from Punjab state of India using computer and laptops. Majority of respondents were female, graduate and fall in 20-25 years age group, use desktop and work on computer 2-4 hours and take at least once an hour break during working on computer. Chi Square test and ‘T’ test was used to test the hypothesis. There is association between musculoskeletal problems due to Computer Usage and years of working on computer and between musculoskeletal problems due to Computer Usage and hours of working on computer. Health related problems/Musculoskeletal discomforts are independent of Gender except lower back pain which is more in females. There is no difference in Health related problems/Musculoskeletal discomforts between desktop users and Laptop users.

Keywords: Health, Computer and students

INTRODUCTION

Computer use among college students has increased dramatically in the last few years. Most academic programs now require a computer and computer literacy for enrollment. In every field, one cannot think without computer work. It has decreased work load in offices, college, school and business sector. Computer has become a connecting and communicating media these days.

Computer work involves repetitive moment of upper limbs, adapted postures using laptops in bed and using desktop sitting on a chair. There are changes in musculoskeletal structures causing tightness, fatigue, neck ache other joint symptoms.

Studies done by different researchers have found that up to 80% people experience physical discomfort during or after computer work.

NEED OF THE STUDY

There is insufficient data on musculoskeletal related to computer use among Indian population. Concentrating the differences in academic schedule in college program and duration of computing, there is need to evaluate Health related and musculoskeletal complaints (MSK) related to computer use among student.

Table 1: Empirical Literature on Computer Related Health Problems.

Author (Year) Country study design & Sample Size Instrument Used Methodology Results of the study
Karen Jacob (2002) New England cross-sectional study and 6th and 7th grade students in three middle schools survey used in the study to determine the prevalence of computer-related musculoskeletal discomfort/pain was adapted from one used by Katz, Amick, Carroll, Hollis, Fossel, & Coley (2000) in their research on the prevalence of upper extremity musculoskeletal disorders in college students. Percentage and Chi-Square test Musculoskeletal (MSC) discomfort/pain associated with computer use in adults may be prevalent throughout middle school aged students. 40% of those participants with computer-related MSC discomfort/pain reported taking a break from using the computer once an hour. This finding suggests that they may be aware of the MSC discomfort/pain and take a break to relieve this discomfort. Despite 95.3% of the students reporting spending 0-6 hours/day using a computer, the amount of time spent using the computer was not associated with musculoskeletal discomfort/pain.
Sotoyama et al .(2002) USA Cross Sectional Study and 100 ele-mentary, junior high, and high schools questionnaires Percentage Concluded that most schools are slow in developing instructive programs about environment and ergonomics in relation to the computer workspace. Although children currently were not experiencing musculoskeletal problems, a concern for future problems with the prospected rise in use of computers in the classroom was expressed. This rise in computer use can lead to physical problems if measures are not taken to improve ergonomic positioning.
Ketola et al .(2002) USA Cross Sectional Study and 124 subjects questionnaires Percentage More use of computer is the major cause of musculoskeletal and ergonomics education helped reduce discomfort; however, the best results were achieved by cooperative plan-ning in which both workers and practitioners were involved
Shari McMahanand Rafer Lutz (2003) California cross-sectional study and 512 college students survey Percentage, MANOVA and Regression The most frequently reported disorders were related to eyestrain affecting nearly 85%, and upper back and neck pain affecting 70% of computer users. This study confirmed the effectiveness of training in workstation design considering that these two recommendations are among the most recommended strategies in the workstation design literature
Eric et al. (2004) California cross-sectional study and 206 Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) graduate students 304 graduate students randomly selected, 206 completed the questionnaire (67% participation rate) with 69% completing the questionnaire online, and 31% by telephone. Chi-Square statistic and Univariate logistic regression Approximately 60% of respondents reported upper extremity or neck pain attributed to computer use and reported a mean pain severity score of 4.5 (_2.2; scale 0–10). In a final logistic regression model, female gender, years of computer use, and hours of computer use per week were significantly associated with pain. The high prevalence of upper extremity pain reported by graduate students suggests a public health need to identify interventions that will reduce symptom severity and prevent impairment.
Moras et al. (2007) USA random-cross sectional study of 361 undergraduate students survey Percentage Assess levels of discomfort, previous laptop use, major and non-musculoskeletal problems such as eye pain and headaches. Neck pain was the most common complaint, followed by upper and lower back.
Shyam Sundar Prasad Shah Dr.M.V.Shetty (2007) India(Bangalore) Cross sectional study and 500 college students reporting computer use questionnaire method and interview T-test and Chi- square test Prevalence of computer related musculoskeletal complaints among college students were very common and there was association of musculoskeletal complaints with adverse tissue tension and duration of computing.
Muthunarayanan (2013) India (Chennai) cross-sectional study and 416 private university students comprising of final year Medical and Engineering (Computer science and Information technology) students studied structured questionnaire Percentage and Multiple Logistic Regression Out of 416 students studied, 58% of them viewed computer at a distance of 20 to 40 inches, 61 % viewed the computer screen at the same level, 42.8% placed the reference material between monitor and key board, 24.5% tilted screen backward and 75.7% took frequent breaks to prevent CVS. Students who viewed the computer at a distance of less than 20 inches, viewed upwards or downwards to see the computer, who did not avoid glare and did not took frequent breaks were at higher risk of developing CVS. Students who did not used adjustable chair, height adjustable keyboard were at higher risk of developing neck and shoulder pain. The students who were not practicing ergonomics principle and did not check posture and make ergonomic alteration were at higher risk of developing CVS.
Venkatesan et al.(2012) Malaysia A cross-sectional study was performed among 200 college students aged 19-27 years using random sampling, two surveys Questionnaire Percentage and Correlation analysis About 88% (149/170) of the respondents reported musculoskeletal complaints in the two weeks prior to completing the survey. The prevalence of musculoskeletal pain was higher in female 90% than in male students 76%. Although there was no statistically significant association between the type of computer and musculoskeletal pain, the prevalence of musculoskeletal pain was higher for students using laptop ( 90% ) when compared to those using both desktop and laptop and desktop only (87 and 86%) respectively. There was no statistically significant correlation for musculoskeletal pain with hours of computer use per day, type of computer used and level of physical activity.
Chavda et al. (2013) India (Gujarat)
cross-sectional study and
100 students
Self-reporting Questionnaire Percentage
Current practice of laptop’s usage was ergonomically improper. Prolonged usage in improper posture has created various musculoskeletal problems among medical students
Bansal et al.(2013) India ( SURAT ) cross sectional study of 290 selected students of information technology in various college an interviewer-administered questionnaire Percentage prevalence of the symptoms like watering in eyes, eye strain, back pain, shoulder pain, neck pain and many other problems which were common among the students and become more persistent with the increase in hours of work and study also examined gender variations
Peter et al. (2014) College of Health Professions, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, USA convenience sample and 260 graduate students questionnaire paired t-test for equality of means including an independent samples test and analysis using ANOVA Results showed that subjects demonstrated a statistically significant im-provement in ergonomics knowledge after they completed the ergonomic educational session. Some participants reported making adaptations to laptop positioning and equipment use fol-lowing the educational session. Thus, partici-pating in ergonomic education can positively influence awareness of body mechanics relative to laptop workstation design

Source: Compiled from various studies

Objectives of Study

  1. To estimate prevalence of computer related health problems/musculoskeletal discomforts among college students
  2. To identify nature and distribution of problems associated with computer usage
  3. To investigate association of health problems/musculoskeletal discomforts with duration of computing.

Hypothesis

  1. There is no association between Health related problems/Musculoskeletal discomforts and hours of use of desktop/laptop in a day.
  2. There is no association between Health related problems/Musculoskeletal discomforts and years of desktop/laptop use.
  3. Perception of respondents regarding Health related problems/Musculoskeletal discomforts is independent of Gender.
  4. There is no difference in Health related problems/Musculoskeletal discomforts between desktop users and Laptop users.

MATERIALS AND METHODOLOGY

Source of Data: 300 College students of Punjab state.

Definition of Study Subjects: College students using computer (laptop and desktop).

INCLUSION AND EXCLUSION CRITERIA:

Inclusion Criteria

  • College student in the age group to >15 to 35 years.
  • Students of both genders reporting use of computer.

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Uncooperative students.
  • Structural deformities of spine or upper limb.

STUDY SAMPLING DESIGN, METHOD AND SIZE

Sample Design: Sample of convenience

Method Of Collection Data: Survey by questionnaire method.

Sample – Size: 300 college and universities students reporting computer use.

Parameters used for comparison and statistical analysis used: The collected data is analyzed by Percentage, chi – square test and t – test.

Duration of study: one week (March to June, 2015)

Methodology: Survey was done in different colleges conducting computer related courses. Questionnaire was distributed among students to measure computer related health problems/musculoskeletal discomforts. Student reporting computer related health problems/musculoskeletal discomforts were asked questions in survey to obtain details in nature, distribution, duration and other contributing factors.

DATA ANALYSIS

Sample characteristics

Table 2: Demographic Profile of Respondents

Demographic Variables No. of Respondents (%)
Gender Male 138(46)
Age (Yrs) Female 162(54)
15-20 Years 72 (24)
20-25 years 126(42)
25-30 Years 66(22)
30 -35 Years 36(12)
Education Level Under Graduate 84 (28)
Graduate 114(38)
Post Graduate 54(18)
Research Schloar 48(16)

As far as the demographic profile of the respondents is concerned, the sample comprised of variety of respondents belonging to different educational background. The demographic background of the sampled respondents is presented in Table no. 2. Table reveals that majority of respondents were female. The table also shows that the majority of the respondents (42%) belonged to the age group of 20-25 years of age. The next largest category comprised of respondents between 15-20 years of age (27 %). The next category of respondents was of the age group of 25-30 years (22%), while those falling in the age category of 30-35 formed just 12% of the sample. It brings out that 38% of the respondents were graduates followed by under graduates (28%). The next category comprised of respondents who were post graduates (18%).While 16 % of the respondents’ perusing doctoral degree.

Table: 3 Type of Computer Used for browsing/typing/downloading

Computer Used for browsing/typing/downloading Frequency Percentage
Desktop 180 60
Laptop 120 40
Total 3000 100

Table 3 indicates that 60 per cent of respondents were used desktop and 40 percent were used Laptop for browsing/typing/downloading.

Table 4: Years of Working on Desktop/Laptop

Years of Working on Desktop/Laptop Frequency Percentage
<3 Years 72 24
3-6 Years 126 42
6-9 Years 60 20
9-12 Years 18 6
12-15 Years 24 8
>15 Years 0 0
Total 300 100

Table 4 indicates that majority of respondents were working on desktop/Laptop for 3 -6 years, followed by <3 years, followed by 6-9 years, 12-15 years and 9-12 years.

Table 5 Hours of work on Computer/Laptop per day

Hours of work on Computer/Laptop per day Frequency Percentage
0-2 Hours 54 18
2-4 Hours 138 46
4-6 Hours 66 22
6-8 Hours 30 10
8+ Hours 12 4
Total 300 100

Table 5 indicates majority (46 per cent) of respondents were work 2-4 hours per day on computer, followed by 4-6 hours, 0-2 hours and 6-8 hours. While just 4 per cent work more than 8 hours.

Table 6 Frequency of taking breaks from working on the computer

Frequency of taking breaks from working on the computer Frequency Percent
More than once an hour 24 8
Only after 2 hours work 18 6
Once every 1-2 hours 60 20
At least once an hour 126 42
Never 72 24

Table 6 indicates majority (42 per cent) of respondents took break at least once an hour, followed by never (24 per cent) Once every 1-2 hours (20 per cent) , More than once an hour (8 per cent), Only after 2 hours work (6 per cent).

Table: 7 Position of computer screen

Position of computer screen Frequency Percentage
At same level 150 50
Upward 102 34
Downward 48 16

Table 7 indicates majority 50 per cent keep their computer screen at same level. While 16 per cent keep computer screen downward.

Table: 8 Place of reference material while typing

Place of reference material while typing Frequency Percentage
Between Monitor/screen and Keyboard 10 20
Above the Monitor/screen 17 34
Sides of the Monitor/screen 23 46

Table 8 indicates the place of reference material while typing on computer. Majority (46 per cent) respond they kept it sides of the monitor/screen, 34 per cent kept Above the Monitor/screen and 20 per cent kept Between Monitor/screen and Keyboard.

Table 9 Body Posture during using desktop/Laptop

Posture Yes (%) No (%) Total
Thigh horizontal 192(64) 108(36) 300
Feet on floor or on foot rest 192(64) 108(36) 300
Lower leg kept vertical 198(66) 102(34) 300
Arms and forearms at right angle 192(64) 108(36) 300
Wrist rest on keyboard 210(70) 90(30) 300

Table 9 reveals that body posture during using desktop/laptop. Majority of respondents respond that they kept Thigh horizontal, Feet on floor or on foot rest, Lower leg kept vertical, Arms and forearms at right angle and wrist rest on keyboard.

Chi-Square test

Table 10 Association between suffered /suffering from any musculoskeletal problems due to Computer Usage and years of working on Desktop/Laptop

3-6 Years 6-9 Years 9-12 Years 12-15 Years >15 Years
suffered /suffering from any musculoskeletal problems due to Computer Usage Yes 18 36 42 78 108 282
No 6 12 0 0 0 18
Total 24 48 42 78 108 300
Contingency Coefficient (Approx. Sig.).039

Table 11 indicates the relationship between the existence of computer-related health/musculoskeletal discomfort/pain and years spent using a computer was made on the basis of student’s report of Desktop/Laptop use from “Years of working on Computer/Laptop). Chi-square analysis (Contingency Coefficient=.499) showed that the correlation between health related/ musculoskeletal discomfort/pain and the reported years of working on computer was significant (p>.05). Therefore, there is association between musculoskeletal problems due to Computer Usage and years of working on computer.

Table 11 Association between suffered /suffering from any musculoskeletal problems due to Computer Usage and years of working on Desktop/Laptop

hours of work on Computer/Laptop Total
0-2 Hours 2-4 Hours 4-6 Hours 6-8 Hours 8+ Hours
suffered /suffering from any musculoskeletal problems due to Computer Usage Yes 18 78 60 24 30 228
No 42 30 0 0 0 72
Total 78 108 60 24 30 300
Contingency Coefficient (Approx. Sig.) .014

The relationship between the existence of computer-related musculoskeletal discomfort/pain and time spent using a computer was made based on student’s report of Desktop/Laptop use in a “typical” day (0-2 hours/day, 2-4 hours/day, 4-6 hours/day, 6-8 hours/day or 8+ hours /day). Chi-square analysis (Contingency Coefficient=.014) indicated that the correlation between health related/musculoskeletal problems and the reported number of hours per day of computer use was significant (p>.05). Therefore, there is association between problems due to computer usage and hours of work on computer.

Table 12 Independent Samples t-Test

Levene's Test for Equality of Variances t-test for Equality of Means
F Sig. t df Sig. (2-tailed) Mean Difference Std. Error Difference 95% Confidence Interval of the Difference
Lower Upper
Finger pain, wrist & hand pain Equal variances assumed .027 .870 -.110 102 .913 -.02564 .23313 -.48806 .43677
Shoulder, Elbow pain & arms pain Equal variances assumed .462 .498 .174 102 .862 .03846 .22053 -.39896 .47588
Numbness/tingling over hand Equal variances assumed .476 .492 .851 102 .397 .17949 .21083 -.23869 .59767
Neck pain Equal variances assumed .006 .939 -.517 102 .606 -.11538 .22323 -.55816 .32739
Back pain Equal variances assumed .000 1.000 -.481 102 .632 -.11538 .24009 -.59161 .36084
Lower backache Equal variances not assumed .245 .022 -2.438 56.166 .012 -.44872 .17313 -.79552 -.10192
Leg pain Equal variances assumed 1.132 .290 .652 102 .516 .14103 .21622 -.28784 .56990
Thigh pain Equal variances assumed .006 .940 -.064 102 .949 -.01282 .19908 -.40770 .38206
Knee pain Equal variances assumed .100 .753 -.937 102 .351 -.21795 .23259 -.67929 .24340
Numbness/tingling over feet Equal variances assumed .000 .998 .220 102 .827 .05128 .23346 -.41179 .51435
Burning feet Equal variances assumed 1.181 .280 1.294 102 .199 .29487 .22789 -.15714 .74689
Table 12 (i) Group Statistics
Gender N Mean Std. Deviation Std. Error Mean
Lower backache Male 138 1.5769 .70274 .13782
Female 162 2.0256 .92546 .10479

Table 12 shows that H0 (3) is rejected partially in case of “Lower backache” significance value is less than 0.05(p<0.05). As table 12 (i) show mean value of female respondents is more than male counterparts so it can be said female are suffering more from Lower backache as compared to their male counterpart respondents.

Table 13 Independent t –test

Levene's Test for Equality of Variances t-test for Equality of Means
F Sig. t df Sig. (2-tailed) Mean Difference Std. Error Difference 95% Confidence Interval of the Difference
Lower Upper
Shoulder, Elbow pain & arms pain Equal variances assumed 1.213 .276 .402 48 .690 .20652 .51398 -.82689 1.23994
Numbness/tingling over hand Equal variances assumed .605 .440 -.723 48 .473 -.33696 .46627 -1.27445 .60053
Equal variances assumed 2.301 .136 -.525 3.251 .633 -.33696 .64194 -2.29347 1.61956
Neck pain Equal variances assumed 2.301 .136 .855 48 .397 .44565 .52123 -.60234 1.49365
Back pain Equal variances assumed 1.811 .185 -.399 48 .691 -.21739 .54427 -1.31172 .87694
Lower backache Equal variances assumed .295 .589 -.323 48 .748 -.17391 .53790 -1.25544 .90761
Leg pain Equal variances assumed 6.800 .312 .212 48 .833 .10870 .51284 -.92243 1.13982
Thigh pain Equal variances assumed 1.002 .322 1.298 48 .200 .67391 .51916 -.36992 1.71775
Knee pain Equal variances assumed 4.642 .436 1.489 48 .143 .79348 .53290 -.27799 1.86495
Numbness/tingling over feet Equal variances assumed .565 .456 .247 48 .806 .13043 .52786 -.93089 1.19176
Burning feet Equal variances assumed .313 .579 -.534 48 .596 -.27174 .50880 -1.29475 .75127

Table 13 indicates that p>0.05 so H0 (4) is not rejected therefore, There is no difference in Health related problems/Musculoskeletal discomforts between desktop users and Laptop users.

DISCUSSION AND FINDINGS

  1. Majority of respondents were female, graduate and fall in 20-25 years age group, use desktop and work on computer 2-4 hours and take at least once a hour break during working on computer.
  2. There is association between musculoskeletal problems due to Computer Usage and years of working on computer.
  3. There is association between musculoskeletal problems due to Computer Usage and hours of working on computer.
  4. Health related problems/Musculoskeletal discomforts are independent of Gender except lower back pain which is more in females.
  5. There is no difference in Health related problems/Musculoskeletal discomforts between desktop users and Laptop users.

RECOMMENDED ERGONOMICS FOR STAYING COMFORTABLE AT COMPUTER

  1. Sit up tall.
  2. Sit close to your keyboard.
  3. Adjust the keyboard height.
  4. Adjust the tilt of your keyboard based on your sitting position.
  5. Position the source documents in front of you, and use an in-line copy stand.
  6. Take small breaks during your workday to release some muscle tension.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

  • Karen Jacobs (2002), “Middle School Children and Their Use of Interactive Media”, The Proceeding of the XVI Annual International Occupational Ergonomics and Safety Conference ʹ2002
  • Sotoyama, M., Bergqvist, U., Jonai, H. and Saito, S. (2002), “ An ergonomic questionnaire survey on the use of computers in schools” Industrial Health ,40, 35-141.

http://dx.doi.org/10.2486/indhealth.40.135

  • Ketola, R., Toivonen, R., Hakkanen, M., Luukkonen, R., Takala, E. and Viikari-Juntura, E. (2002) Effects of ergonomic intervention in work with video display units, Scandinavian Journal of Work , Environment & Health , 28, 18-24.

http://dx.doi.org/10.5271/sjweh.642

  • S. McMahan & R. Lutz (2003), “Computer Use, Workstation Design Training and Cumulative Trauma Disorders in College Students”, Californian Journal of Health Promotion , Volume 1, Issue 4, 38-46.
  • Eric B. Schlossberg, Sandra Morrow, Augusto E. Llosa, Edward Mamary, MS, Peter Dietrich, and David M. Rempel, (2004), “Upper Extremity Pain and Computer Use Among Engineering Graduate Students”, American Journal Of Industrial Medicine 46:297–303.