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Validity of Self-reported Texting Frequency, Texting Styles, and Cell Phone Characteristics among College Students
University of Gävle, Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, Department of Occupational and Public Health Sciences. University of Gävle, Centre for Musculoskeletal Research.
West Virginia University. (West Virginia University Injury Control Research Center)
West Virginia University. (West Virginia University Injury Control Research Center)
2013 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Purposes

Self-reported duration and frequency of text messaging has been associated with musculoskeletal disorders (1, 2).  The only published study examining self-reported texting validity is among young adolescents (3).  Overestimation in lower volume and underestimation in higher volume texters occurred as compared with service provider information.  The corresponding validity in college students is unknown.  The current objective was to determine the validity of self-reported categorical number of daily texts sent.  Much as office workers have been found to overestimate their computer keyboard usage (4-6), it was hypothesized that texters would overestimate daily texts sent.  Since phone characteristics (e.g., keyboard type and phone orientation), and texting styles (number of hands holding phone, fingers used to text) may affect the risk of musculoskeletal disorders, we also assessed their self-reported validity.

 

Methods

College students (n = 108) filled out a questionnaire noting daily texts sent, phone characteristics, and texting styles.  Their phone bill was used for verification of daily texts sent, and they were observed texting a short message to verify phone characteristics and texting styles.  A linear weighted kappa statistic was used to gauge the agreement between categorical self-reported and phone-bill derived daily text messages sent.  Percentages of agreement were presented to ascertain concordance between self-reported and observed cell phone characteristics and texting styles.  Gender was examined as a potential confounder.

 

Results

Subjects overestimated their daily texts sent in all phone-bill verified texting volumes. The weighted kappa statistic was 0.18 (95% CI: 0.07-0.30) with 43.8% agreement.  There was little difference in recall by gender. 

 

High agreement (> 92%) was achieved between self-reported and observed input device, phone manufacturer, and phone orientation when texting (figure).  However, there was low agreement between self-reported and observed texting styles.  There was little difference in validity by gender.

 

Conclusions

College students consistently overestimated the number of daily texts sent.  This occurred in all frequencies of text messaging, suggesting that risk underestimation will occur in epidemiology studies where self-reported texting is an exposure variable.  Hence, any such studies should rely on a more valid measure, i.e., a phone bill.  Validity of self-reported texting style was low.  However, texting style as observed during a short trial executed under experimental conditions may not be reflective of the more diverse texting style(s) that would be observed during extended periods and in real-world settings for the students.  Further research is needed to confirm the study findings in other age groups.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013.
National Category
Environmental Health and Occupational Health
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-15177OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-15177DiVA: diva2:646987
Conference
Eighth International Scientific Conference on Prevention of Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders (PREMUS2013), Busan, Korea, Jul 08-11, 2013
Available from: 2013-09-10 Created: 2013-09-10 Last updated: 2013-09-19Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
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  • ieee
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