Honors Theses

Date of Award


Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis



First Advisor

Carol Britson

Relational Format



College students are susceptible to tech neck, a possible musculoskeletal disorder producing neck strain due to texting. The primary aim of this study was to determine whether texting among college students produces any significant effects on the trapezius and sternocleidomastoid muscles and neck flexion. To the best ofmy knowledge, no study in the literature has studies the effects of texting taking into consideration factors specific to college students, such as carrying a backpack and different environments (e.g. stairs, hallways). This justifies my primary aim of examining collegiate factors (i.e. backpack, environment) influence on neck muscle activity and flexion in students while texting. The secondary aim ofthis study was to determine whether there are differences in neck muscle activity and neck flexion between sexes existed when texting. The experimental design consisted of 15 females and 16 males, at The University of Mississippi during the fall 2017 semester. Surface electromyography electrodes placed on the trapezius and sternocleidomastoid muscles o f the side o f the dominant hand were used to determine muscle activity differences between texting and non-texting tasks, between environments (e.g. hallway, stairs), between carrying and not carrying a backpack, and between sexes. Four possible neck muscle flexions were possible: trapezius forward flexion, trapezius lateral flexion, sternocleidomastoid forward flexion, and sternocleidomastoid lateral flexion. Photograms ofparticipants, while performing tasks while not texting and texting with and without their backpack, were taken to determine neck flexion. Three-way ANOV A (significance at p < 0.05) and estimated marginal means were used to analyze the data. There were no significant differences in neck muscle activity between any combination o f sex, texting, and environment. There were no significant differences in neck muscle activity between sex, environment, and carrying a backpack excluding the trapezius lateral flexion between sexes. Mean muscle activity of females was greatest for all possible flexions excluding the sternocleidomastoid lateral flexion. Mean muscle activity while texting was greater for the stairs environment, when not carrying a backpack, but was roughly the same as mean muscle activity in the hallway environment when carrying a backpack. Mean muscle activity while texting in the hallway environment increased when carrying a backpack. There was significant difference in neck flexion between sexes. Mean neck flexion of all participants increased when performing texting tasks. Mean neck flexion while texting with no backpack and texting with a backpack were roughly equal. Based on the results of this study, texting does not cause musculoskeletal disorders. Furthermore, there are apparent gender differences in muscle activity and neck flexion while texting.

Included in

Biology Commons



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