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.