A cross-sectional study of the association between mobile phone use and symptoms of ill health

Environ Health Toxicol. 2016 Oct 26:31:e2016022. doi: 10.5620/eht.e2016022. eCollection 2016.


Objectives: This study analyzed the associations between mobile phone call frequency and duration with non-specific symptoms.

Methods: This study was conducted with a population group including 532 non-patient adults established by the Korean Genome and Epidemiology Study. The pattern of phone call using a mobile phone was investigated through face-to-face interview. Structured methods applied to quantitatively assess health effects are Headache Impact Test-6 (HIT-6), Psychosocial Well-being Index-Short Form, Beck Depression Inventory, Korean-Instrumental Activities of Daily Living, Perceived Stress Scale (PSS), Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, and 12-item Short Form Health Survey where a higher score represents a higher greater health effect.

Results: The average daily phone call frequency showed a significant correlation with the PSS score in female subjects. Increases in the average duration of one phone call were significantly correlated with increases in the severity of headaches in both sexes. The mean (standard deviation) HIT-6 score in the subgroup of subjects whose average duration of one phone call was five minutes or longer was 45.98 (8.15), as compared with 42.48 (7.20) in those whose average duration of one phone call was <5 minutes. The severity of headaches was divided into three levels according to the HIT-6 score (little or no impact/moderate impact/substantial or severe impact), and a logistic regression analysis was performed to investigate the association between an increased phone call duration and the headache severity. When the average duration of one phone call was five minutes or longer, the odds ratio (ORs) and the 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for the moderate impact group were 2.22 and 1.18 to 4.19, respectively. The OR and 95% CI for the substantial or severe impact group were 4.44 and 2.11 to 8.90, respectively.

Conclusions: Mobile phone call duration was not significantly associated with stress, sleep, cognitive function, or depression, but was associated with the severity of headaches.

Keywords: Headache Impact Test-6; Headaches; Mobile phones; Non-specific symptoms.