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Med Teach. 2018 Sep;40(sup1):S10-S14. doi: 10.1080/0142159X.2018.1464652. Epub 2018 Jun 17.

The impact of WhatsApp use on academic achievement among Saudi medical students.

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a Department of Behavioural Sciences & Clinical Psychology, Faculty of Medicine , AlBaha University , AlBaha , Saudi Arabia.
b Department of Psychology, Al-Amal Complex for Mental Health , Dammam University , Dammam , Saudi Arabia.
c Department of Medical Education , University of Illinois at Chicago , Chicago , IL , USA.



The aim of this study is to examine the relationship between WhatsApp on academic performance among Saudi medical school students at the University of AlBaha and the University of Dammam.


A total of 160 students (79 students from AlBaha medical school and 81 students from Dammam medical school) with smartphones were surveyed on their use of social media services and their academic performance (October-December 2015). A Likert scale consisting of 14 items was used to measure the use of WhatsApp and its relationship with academic achievement. Factor analysis of the self-report data of the social media addiction items was conducted. Pearson's correlations were examined to determine the relationship of WhatsApp use with academic achievement and symptoms of addiction.


Nearly 99% of participants reported using WhatsApp (over 53% use for academic activities). There was no significant association between GPA and students who use WhatsApp. However, the time spent on WhatsApp usage was directly proportional to the symptoms of addiction.


WhatsApp usage showed no relationship with the academic performance among Saudi medical students in both the universities. However, the usage of WhatsApp could be cautioned to minimize the social media addiction on various aspects of life.

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