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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Psychol. | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01959

Association between Internet Addiction and the Risk of Musculoskeletal Pain among Chinese College Freshmen—A Cross-Sectional Study

  • 1School of Physical Education, Northeast Normal University, China
  • 2School of Physical Education, Southwest University, China
  • 3Xinhua College of Sun Yat-sen University, China
  • 4Southwest University, China

Background: It is well established that greater internet use is related to an increased risk of musculoskeletal pain among adolescents. The relationship between internet addiction, a unique condition involving severe internet overuse, and musculoskeletal pain has, however, not been reported. The aim of this study was to examine the association between internet addiction and the risk of musculoskeletal pain in different body parts among Chinese college freshmen.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among 4211 Chinese college freshmen. Internet addiction status was evaluated using the 20-item Young's Internet Addiction Test. Internet addiction was defined as internet addiction score ≥ 50. Musculoskeletal pain was assessed using a self-report questionnaire.
Results: Among all subjects, 29.2% reported neck pain, 33.9% shoulder pain, 3.8% elbow pain, 7.9% wrist/hand pain, and 27.9% low back and waist pain. The prevalence of internet addiction was 17.4%. After adjusting for potential confounders, internet addiction was significantly associated with risk of neck, shoulder, elbow, wrist/hand, low back and waist pain. The odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for neck pain with severe internet addiction status were 1.00 (reference), 1.451 (1.221, 1.725), and 1.994 (1.608, 2.473) (P for trends: <0.001). The odds ratios (95% CI) for shoulder pain with severe internet addiction status were 1.00 (reference), 1.520 (1.287, 1.795), and 2.057 (1.664, 2.542) (P for trends: <0.001). The odds ratios (95% CI) for elbow pain with severe internet addiction were 1.00 (reference), 1.627 (1.016, 2.605), and 2.341 (1.382, 3.968) (P for trends: 0.001). The odds ratios (95% CI) for wrist/hand pain with severe internet addiction status were 1.00 (reference), 1.508 (1.104, 2.060), and 2.236 (1.561, 3.202) (P for trends: <0.001). The odds ratios (95% CI) for low back and waist pain with severe internet addiction status were 1.00 (reference), 1.635 (1.368, 1.955), and 2.261 (1.813, 2.819) (P for trends: <0.001).
Conclusion: This cross-sectional study showed that severe internet addiction is significantly associated with a higher risk of musculoskeletal pain in Chinese college freshmen. In future research, it will be necessary to explore causality in this relationship with interventional studies.

Keywords: Internet addiction, Musculoskeletal Pain, Chinese, college freshmen, Cross-sectional study

Received: 23 May 2019; Accepted: 08 Aug 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Yang, Cao, Li, Cheng, Liu, Hao, Yao, Shi, Peng, Guo and Ren. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence:
Prof. Li Peng, School of Physical Education, Southwest University, Chongqing, 400715, China, pengli2019@sina.com
Prof. Liya Guo, School of Physical Education, Southwest University, Chongqing, 400715, China, guoliya2019@sina.com
Mx. Zhongyu Ren, Southwest University, Chongqing, China, renzhongyu@swu.edu.cn