Daily computer usage correlated with undergraduate students' musculoskeletal symptoms

Am J Ind Med. 2007 Jun;50(6):481-8. doi: 10.1002/ajim.20461.


Background: A pilot prospective study was performed to examine the relationships between daily computer usage time and musculoskeletal symptoms on undergraduate students.

Methods: For three separate 1-week study periods distributed over a semester, 27 students reported body part-specific musculoskeletal symptoms three to five times daily. Daily computer usage time for the 24-hr period preceding each symptom report was calculated from computer input device activities measured directly by software loaded on each participant's primary computer. General Estimating Equation models tested the relationships between daily computer usage and symptom reporting.

Results: Daily computer usage longer than 3 hr was significantly associated with an odds ratio 1.50 (1.01-2.25) of reporting symptoms. Odds of reporting symptoms also increased with quartiles of daily exposure.

Conclusions: These data suggest a potential dose-response relationship between daily computer usage time and musculoskeletal symptoms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Arm
  • Computer Peripherals
  • Computers, Handheld
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Data Collection
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Microcomputers / statistics & numerical data*
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / diagnosis
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Pilot Projects
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sex Factors
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Students / statistics & numerical data*
  • Time Factors
  • Utilization Review / statistics & numerical data