Health effects of using mobile communication devices: A case study in senior citizens, Thailand

Wachiraporn Wilaiwan, Juthasiri Rohitrattana, Nutta Taneepanichskul, Vipa Danthamrongkua, Mark Robson, Wattasit Siriwong

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The trend of using mobile devices amongst the elderly population is continuously increasing. Therefore, the aims of this study were to study the usage status of communication devices and applications amongst the elderly population and to determine factors associated with health effects related to mobile communication device usage among the elderly people in Thailand. A descriptive cross-sectional descriptive study was conducted in four main regions of Thailand. Four hundred and forty-eight elderly people who regularly use smartphone or tablet computers participated in the study. Face-to-face interviews were carried out and data was recorded in a prepared questionnaire. Participants whose age averaged 65.11 ±5.26 years old participated in this study. The average time spent on using devices was 2.70 hours/day. The positive health effects of using smartphone or tablet devices were reported to be as follows: an increased sense of self-value and confidence (90.6%) and an increased feeling of intimacy towards others (82.6%). The negative health effects were dim eyes (52.7%), shoulder or neck pain or muscle soreness (52.5%), an increase in social networking activity with strangers (39.5%), and changes in interaction with those around them (32.6%). Moreover, the results showed that the time spent on mobile phones, the type of application used, the time of usage, and rest breaks between using devices were significantly associated with negative health effects (p<0.05). The findings show that Thai elderly people have been confronted by several health effects regarding mobile communication device and application usage. Consequently, practical intervention to reduce those negative health effects should be considered by providing knowledge about using mobile communication devices in proper ways.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)80-90
Number of pages11
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Toxicology
  • Environmental Science(all)


  • Health effects
  • Mobile communication devices
  • Senior citizens

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    Wilaiwan, W., Rohitrattana, J., Taneepanichskul, N., Danthamrongkua, V., Robson, M., & Siriwong, W. (2018). Health effects of using mobile communication devices: A case study in senior citizens, Thailand. EnvironmentAsia, 11(2), 80-90.