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Appl Ergon. 2012 Mar;43(2):408-12. doi: 10.1016/j.apergo.2011.06.015. Epub 2011 Jul 20.

Postures, typing strategies, and gender differences in mobile device usage: an observational study.

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Department of Public Health, Temple University, 1301 Cecil B. Moore Avenue 004-09, Philadelphia, PA 19122, USA.


Mobile device text messaging and other typing is rapidly increasing worldwide. A checklist was utilized to characterize joint postures and typing styles in individuals appearing to be of college age (n = 859) while typing on their mobile devices in public. Gender differences were also ascertained. Almost universally, observed subjects had a flexed neck (91.0%, n = 782), and a non-neutral typing-side wrist (90.3%, n = 776). A greater proportion of males had protracted shoulders (p < 0.01, χ(2) test), while a greater proportion of females had a typing-side inner elbow angle of <90°, particularly while standing (p = 0.03, χ(2) test). 46.1% of subjects typed with both thumbs (two hands holding the mobile device). Just over one-third typed with their right thumb (right hand holding the mobile device). No difference in typing styles between genders was found. Future research should determine whether the non-neutral postures identified may be associated with musculoskeletal disorders.

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