Upper quadrant postural changes of school children in response to interaction with different information technologies

Ergonomics. 2004 Jun 10;47(7):790-819. doi: 10.1080/00140130410001663569.


The objective of this study was to quantitatively analyse the sitting posture of school children interacting with both old (book) and new (laptop and desktop computers) information technologies to test the hypothesis that posture is effected by the type of information technology (IT) used. A mixed model design was used to test the effect of IT type (within subjects) and age and gender (between subjects). The sitting posture of 32 children aged 4-17 years was measured whilst they read from a book, laptop, and desktop computer at a standard school chair and desk. Video images were captured and then digitized to calculate mean angles for head tilt, neck flexion, trunk flexion, and gaze angle. Posture was found to be influenced by IT type (p < 0.001), age (p < 0.001) and gender (p = 0.024) and significantly correlated to the stature of the participants. Measurement of resting posture and the maximal range of motion of the upper and lower cervical spines in the sagittal plane was also undertaken. The biophysical impact and the suitability of the three different information technologies are discussed.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Australia
  • Biomechanical Phenomena / methods
  • Books
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Ergonomics
  • Female
  • Head Movements / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Microcomputers
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / etiology
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Neck / physiology*
  • Posture / physiology*
  • Reading*
  • Schools
  • Students
  • Upper Extremity / physiology*
  • Videotape Recording