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 Table of Contents  
ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2019  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 118-123

Pattern of mobile phone usage among medical students


1 Department of Pharmacology, SMS Medical College, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, U.P. University of Medical Sciences, Etawah, Uttar Pradesh, India

Date of Submission19-Dec-2018
Date of Decision05-Mar-2019
Date of Acceptance15-Mar-2019
Date of Web Publication29-Aug-2019

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Uma Advani
Department of Pharmacology, SMS Medical College, Jaipur, Rajasthan
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/IJAM.IJAM_61_18

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  Abstract 


Aims and Objectives: The aim is to study the pattern of mobile phone usage among medical students.
Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among medical students of 2nd year MBBS at SMS Medical College, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India. A preformed, pretested questionnaire was used. Data were analyzed statistically by simple proportions.
Results: The response rate was 92.13%. Of 164 students, 96 were male and 68 were female. The mean age of students was 20.04 ± 0.67. Almost 100% of respondents had smartphones. Nearly 48% of students had downloaded medical apps on their mobile phones. The most common age group of starting internet use among the respondents was 11–20 years. Daily use of the internet was 3–6 h/day by most of the medical students. Most of the students used mobile phones for the purpose of social networking (n = 76) followed by online shopping (n = 56). About 32.92% of students used mobile for academic purpose. Nearly 59.75% of students obtained 41%–60% of marks in spite of extensively using smartphones which shows that they are rationally using their phones in improving their academic performance. The association between time in hours spent on mobile phones and marks obtained in the examination held in the past 3 months was statistically nonsignificant (χ2 = 10.369, degree of freedom = 9,P= 0.321). About 57.29% of students were suffering from nomophobia (NMP), 26.82% of students were at risk of NMP, and only 13.20% of students were having no NMP. Nearly 58.53% of students had ringxiety.
Conclusion: Our study gives a brief idea about the addiction of mobile phones among medical students. There is a definite need of further studies in this field.
The following core competencies are addressed in this article: Practice-based learning and improvement, Medical knowledge, Interpersonal and communication skills, Professionalism.

Keywords: Medical students, mobile phones, nomophobia, ringxiety


How to cite this article:
Sharma N, Advani U, Sharma L, Jain M, Sharma K, Dixit AM. Pattern of mobile phone usage among medical students. Int J Acad Med 2019;5:118-23

How to cite this URL:
Sharma N, Advani U, Sharma L, Jain M, Sharma K, Dixit AM. Pattern of mobile phone usage among medical students. Int J Acad Med [serial online] 2019 [cited 2019 Nov 20];5:118-23. Available from: http://www.ijam-web.org/text.asp?2019/5/2/118/265685




  Introduction Top


The use of mobile phone has become an integral part of life. Recently, its use has increased considerably in the past two decades.[1] Smartphone has emerged as a portable computer as it has almost all the other features of personal digital assistance such as browsing on the internet, E-mail access, desktop synchronization, as well as third-party applications, commonly referred to as “apps.” The use of mobile phone is an important tool among health-care professionals.[2]

Mobile phones have great potential in the field of medical education if used rationally.[3]

Sharma et al. 2015 highlighted in their study that the rising use of mobile phones is adversely affecting the daily activities as well as studies of medical students. The literal meaning of “Nomophobia (NMP)” is “No mobile phobia” or “the fear of being out of mobile phone contact.”[4]

Excessive use of smartphones can also be termed as “addiction.” The continuous use of something for the sake of relief, comfort, or stimulation, which often causes cravings when it is absent, is defined as addiction by the WHO. Addiction is categorized broadly into two major categories: substance addiction and behavioral addiction. Addiction of mobile phones comes under the behavioral type of addiction.[5]

Although on one side, phones have made the life of young generation more comfortable, convenient, and safer, on the other side, excessive use of mobile phone has led to their poor perceived health which includes tiredness, stress, headaches, and difficulty in concentration which definitely affect their academic performance.[6],[7]

When we talk about NMP statistics, in the UK, 66% of people are afraid of either losing or being separated from their phones, while 41% of people own ≥1 phone.[4],[8] While according to a meta-analysis, the addiction of smartphone usage in India ranged from 39% to 44% as per fixed effects calculated (P< 0.0001).[5]

Low-energy electromagnetic radiations is received by the mobile phone user and may cause structural and functional cellular changes within the central nervous system as well as the auditory system.[4] There is a lacuna of research work in this field; hence, we decided to carry out our study to see the impact of mobile phones on medical students of our college.

Objectives

The objective was to study the pattern of mobile phone usage and prevalence of addiction of mobile phone (NMP) among medical students. (Hypothesis Research question: What is the pattern of mobile use among medical student?).


  Materials and Methods Top


This is an anonymous, questionnaire-based descriptive cross-sectional study. This study was conducted in the Department of Pharmacology after taking permission from the Ethics Committee of SMS Medical College, Jaipur (Order No.: 3931 MC/EC/2017). The 2nd year MBBS students were included in the study after taking their consent. A self-developed, semi-structured questionnaire, based on previous studies were prepared.[4],[8] Part A of questionnaire included sociodemographic profile of the participant, while part B included 12 questions out of which five questions were framed to assess NMP and to assess subjective symptoms because of mobile phone usage.

The same semester students who willingly participated in the study and filled the informed consent form were included in the study.

Students who did not have a smartphone or downloaded applications in the phone were excluded from the study. Confidentiality of data was maintained. We explained the objectives of the study to the 2nd- year MBBS students who voluntarily gave their consent to participate in the study. The prevalidated questionnaire was distributed among the participants and was recollected on the same day. Incompletely filled forms were excluded from the study.

Statistical analysis

The survey was descriptive and after completion of data collection, it was reviewed, organized and data were summarized as counts and percentages, and evaluated using the Chi-square test, and P < 0.05 was considered statistically significant. Some of the questions had multiple options to choose from therefore the sum total of percentage is not always 100%. Data were analyzed using SPSS (Statistical Package for Social Sciences) software, version 16.0 (SPSS Inc., Chicago, IL, USA). This is a cross-sectional study and purposive sampling adopted for selection of participant, hence, there is no need to use power.


  Results Top


The questionnaire was distributed among 178 2nd year medical students in the lecture theater of SMS Medical College, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India. Fourteen incompletely filled questionnaires were excluded from the study. We could recollect 164 completely filled questionnaires. The response rate was 92.13%. Of 164 students, 96 were male and 68 were female. The mean age of students was 20.04 ± 0.67. Other demographic data of the students are depicted in [Table 1].
Table 1: Sociodemographic characteristics of the study participants

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Almost 100% of respondents had smartphones. One hundred and forty-one students owned a single mobile phone. Only 23 had two mobile phones. All students had internet on their mobile phones. One hundred and fifty-three students recharged their mobiles monthly, whereas six students twice a month, and only five students had to recharge thrice a month. Seventy-nine students had downloaded medical apps on their mobile phones.

The most common age group of starting internet use among respondents was 11–20 years (156 students) followed by 21–30 years (5 students). Only three students started using smartphones at the age of <10 years as shown in [Figure 1].
Figure 1: Depicting age of starting internet use on smartphones

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Daily use of the internet was 3–6 h/day by most of the medical students (n = 123) followed by <2 h (20 students). Thirteen students used mobile for 7–10 h but the maximum use of internet >10 h/day was done by eight students.

Most of the students used mobile phones for the purpose of social networking (n = 76) followed by online shopping (n = 56). About 32.92% of students used mobile for academic purpose. We were very surprised to see the changing trend of shopping and not only females, but male respondents also used phone for online shopping. The main purpose of the mobile phone usage by respondents is as depicted in [Figure 2].
Figure 2: Main purpose of mobile phone usage

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The maximum use of internet on mobile was found at night time (n = 98), followed by evening (n = 32), afternoon (n = 22), and minimum use in the morning (n = 12).

Majority 40.85% of medical students preferred to keep their mobile phones on silent mode, while 35.82% of students kept their phones on ringing and 20.12% on vibration mode. Only 9.75% of students were dare to detach themselves from mobiles by switching them off during the study hours.

One hundred and thirteen students operated mobile phones at home or hostel while eating foods or when relaxing. 30 students used their phones in the library and 11 students operated their phones while driving. Only 10 students confessed that they used their phones even during attending lectures in the classrooms.

Most of the students (n = 98) obtained 41%–60% of marks in spite of extensively using smartphones which shows that they are rationally using their phones in improving their academic performance. When we applied nonparametric statistical tests (Chi-square test) and calculated P value to see an association between time in hours spent on mobile phones and marks obtained in the examination held in the past 3 months, we found that it was not statistically significant as P > 0.05, as shown in [Table 2].
Table 2: Association between time in hours spent on mobile phones and marks obtained in examination held in the past 3 months

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Apart from internet addiction, 76 respondents confessed that they had other addiction also. There was no incidence of self-injurious behavior or suicidal thoughts among respondents.

NMP was assessed among respondents as per elaborated in previous studies [4],[8],[9],[10] and we found that 57.29% students were suffering from NMP, 26.82% of students were at risk of NMP, and only 13.20% of students were having no NMP. When we saw the gender-based prevalence of NMP then it was found to be nonsignificant (P > 0.05) as shown in [Table 3].
Table 3: Gender-based prevalence of nomophobia

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About 57.92% of students panicked when they misplaced their cellphone, 22.56% became desperate for their phones, while 18.29% of students were relieved. Majority of students used to check their mobile phones as soon they wake up in the morning. Most of the respondents cited that they used to check their phones for messages and other updates every 30 min. Some respondents used to check it a couple of times a day. This shows their desperation as well as obsession about their smartphones. About 59% of students used to keep their mobile phones beside their bed. 58.53% of students had “ringxiety.”


  Discussion Top


The response rate in our study was 92.13% which is higher than other Indian studies.[11],[12] The response rate in our study was quite good because the questionnaire was distributed directly to the students in person rather than E-mailing them. E-mailing of questionnaire or WhatsApp is used very frequently for these types of studies which affects response rate as well as results also. Sharma et al. 2015[4] have also reported a good response rate of 90.76%.

In our study, we found male preponderance which is in contradiction to a study conducted by Prasad et al. 2017[9] and Farooqui et al. 2018[13] and a few other studies.[4],[14],[15] Male preponderance was also documented by a study done in Central India with 53% of males and 47% of females.[8]

Gavali et al. 2017[12] documented in their study that 80% of medical students used downloaded medical applications on their mobile phones to aid learning. Moreover, in our case, only 48% (n = 79) of students had downloaded medical applications. While in a study done in Indore, only 19% of medical students used medical apps.[4]

Prasad et al. 2017[9] and Aman et al. 2015[16] found in their study that if students spend more time on phone, they score low marks in professional examinations. In contrary to this, we found that there is no statistically significant association between time spent on mobile phones and marks obtained in the recent examination (P > 0.05). Similar results were documented in previous literature by Ezemenaka in 2013 that there is no significant relationship affecting the academic performance of students in using internet enabled phones.[17]

We found that 57.29% of students were suffering from NMP and 26.82% students were at risk of NMP which is quite greater that a study done in 2017 by Prasad et al., which showed 24.12% of prevalence of NMP and 40.97% of prevalence of having a risk of being nomophobes.[9]

Basu et al. 2018[18] reported 40% of the participants with NMP from Delhi, and Dasgupta et al. 2017 from Kolkata [19] reported NMP in 42.6% medical students assessed with the NMP-Q questionnaire.

While Dixit et al., in 2010 documented only 18.5% of nomophobes in their study.[8] Even higher degree of NMP was reported by Sharma et al. 2015[4] in which 73% of students accepted that they were actually nomophobics.

In addition to this, we could see statistically nonsignificant gender-based difference among nomophobics which is in contradiction to results documented by Prasad et al. 2017. They could found a statistically significant difference on the usage of mobile phones between females and males.[9]

Maximum use of internet in our study was 3–6 h/day which is in agreement to studies done by Prasad et al. 2017.[9]

It can be assumed that there has been increasing trend of smartphone uses with new technologies in the past decade. There are both pros and cons of mobile phone usage during student life. It helps us to connect with our family and friends, but on the other hand, there is clinching evidence of its increasing subjective symptoms due to its overuse among nomophobics.

Limitations

Our study included a small cohort so future studies on larger groups are needed because addiction of mobile phones has become an epidemic. Further comparative studies are recommended and the results should be compared with students of other departments or even with nonmedical students and the general population.


  Conclusion Top


This study highlights the prevalence of NMP among medical students and its woeful outcomes because very few students used mobile phones for academic purpose. There should be increased awareness about increasing incidence of NMP not only among medical students but general population also. We suggest more study in this field, especially in larger sample of population to get more accurate results.

Acknowledgment

The author would like to acknowledge gratitude to all the medical students who sincerely participated in the study.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

Ethical conduct of research

Permission from the Ethics Committee of SMS Medical College, Jaipur (Order No.: 3931 MC/EC/2017) was obtained before commencement of the study and the study participants who willingly gave their consent were included in the study. Applicable EQUATOR Network (http://www.equator-network.org/) guidelines were followed.



 
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