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Electronic media use and adolescent health and well-being : cross-sectional community study

journal contribution
posted on 2009-09-01, 00:00 authored by M Mathers, L Canterford, T Olds, Kylie HeskethKylie Hesketh, K Ridley, M Wake
Objective : To describe time adolescents spend using electronic media (television, computer, video games, and telephone); and to examine associations between self-reported health/well-being and daily time spent using electronic media overall and each type of electronic media.

Methods :
Design–Cross-sectional data from the third (2005) wave of the Health of Young Victorians Study, an Australian school-based population study. Outcome Measures–Global health, health-related quality of life (HRQoL; KIDSCREEN), health status (Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory 4.0; PedsQL), depression/anxiety (Kessler-10), and behavior problems (Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire). Exposure Measures–Duration of electronic media use averaged over 1 to 4 days recalled with the Multimedia Activity Recall for Children and Adolescents (MARCA) computerized time-use diary. Analysis–Linear and logistic regression; adjusted for demographic variables and body mass index z score.

Results :
A total of 925 adolescents (mean ± standard deviation age, 16.1 ± 1.2 years) spent, on average, 3 hours 16 minutes per day using electronic media (television, 128 minutes per day; video games, 35; computers, 19; telephone, 13). High overall electronic media use was associated with poorer behavior, health status, and HRQoL. Associations with duration of specific media exposures were mixed; there was a favorable association between computer use (typing/Internet) and psychological distress, whereas high video game use was associated with poorer health status, HRQoL, global health, and depression/anxiety. Television and telephone durations were not associated with any outcome measure.

Conclusions :
Despite television's associations with obesity, time spent in other forms of media use appear more strongly related to adolescent health and well-being. This study supports efforts to reduce high video game use and further exploration of the role of computers in health enhancement.



Academic pediatrics






307 - 314




New York, N. Y.







Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2009, Academic Pediatric Association