Associations between subjective neuropsychological symptoms and the usage of digital technologies

Agnė Staniūtė1, Rebeka Širmulevičiūtė1, Greta Pšemeneckienė2

1Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Medical Academy, Faculty of Medicine, Kaunas, Lithuania

2Lithuanian University of Health Sciences Kaunas Clinics, Department of Neurology, Kaunas, Lithuania


Introduction. Extensive screen time can have harmful effects (attention deficit, impaired emotional and social intelligence, technology addiction, social isolation, disrupted sleep). Multitasking can negatively impact cognitive functions (worse memory, impaired attention), psychosocial behaviour (increased impulsiveness, social anxiety, and depression) and neural structure (decreased anterior cingulate cortex volume).

Aim: To evaluate the associations between subjective neuropsychological symptoms and the usage of digital technologies

Methodology. 276 people aged 20-50 years old participated in a survey, which was an anonymous questionnaire, that was spread through social medias. The questionnaire included questions about demographical characteristics, usage of digital technologies, lifestyle, neuropsychological symptoms (fatigue, sleep, memory, attention impairment, pain), fatigue was evaluated using Fatigue Severity Scale.

Results. People using social media for more than 3 hours a day more frequently complained about having headaches 5-6 times/week (p=0.018), impaired attention (p=0.009), severe fatigue (FSS score more than 4) (p=0.008). People, who multitasked for more than 1 hour/day, more frequently complained about shoulder pain (p=0.046), severe fatigue (p=0.014), inability to concentrate (p=0.014). People who used two screens simultaneously for 4-6 hrs, more frequently complained about their long-term memory than those who did it for shorter time (p<0.05). Respondents who used social media for more than 1 hr/day, more frequently felt inexplainable sadness (p<0.05).

Conclusions. Long time spent on social media is related with frequent headaches, attention deficit and severe fatigue. Multitasking is related to shoulder pain, severe fatigue and inability to concentrate.

Keywords: digital technologies, multitasking, neuropsychological symptoms, social medias.

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