Research Study Abstract

Telecommunication devices use, screen time and sleep in adolescents

  • Published on April, 2019

To investigate the association between telecommunication and other screen devices use and subjective and objective sleep measures in adolescents at 17–18 years.

Cross-sectional study on adolescents aged 17–18 years from a Spanish population-based birth cohort established in Menorca in 1997–1998. Information on devices use was collected using self-reported questionnaires. Mobile Phone Problematic Use Scale was used to assess mobile phone use dependency. Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index was used to assess subjective sleep (n = 226). ActiGraph wGT3X-BT for 7 nights was used to assess objective sleep (n = 110).

One or more cordless phone calls/week was associated with a lower sleep quality [Prevalence Ratio (PR) 1.30 (95%Confidence Interval (CI) 1.04; 1.62)]. Habitual and frequent problematic mobile phone use was associated with a lower sleep quality [PR 1.55 (95%CI 1.03; 2.33) and PR 1.67 (95%CI 1.09; 2.56), respectively]. Higher tablet use was associated with decreased sleep efficiency and increased minutes of wake time after sleep onset [β-1.15 (95%CI −1.99; −0.31) and β 7.00 (95%CI 2.40; 11.60) per increase of 10 min/day of use, respectively]. No associations were found between other devices and sleep measures.

Frequency of cordless phone calls, mobile phone dependency, and tablet use were related to an increase of subjective and objective sleep problems in adolescents. These results seem to indicate that sleep displacement, mental arousal, and exposure to blue light screen emission might play a more important role on sleep than a high RF-EMF exposure to the brain. However, more studies are needed assessing personal RF-EMF levels to draw conclusions.


  • Alba Cabré-Riera 1,2,3
  • Maties Torrent 4
  • David Donaire-Gonzalez 1,2,3,5
  • Martine Vrijheid 1,2,3
  • Elisabeth Cardis 1,2,3
  • Mònica Guxens 1,2,3,6


  • 1

    ISGlobal, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

  • 2

    Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

  • 3

    Spanish Consortium for Research and Public Health (CIBERESP), Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Madrid, Spain

  • 4

    ib-Salut, Area de Salud de Menorca, Spain

  • 5

    Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences (IRAS), division of Environmental Epidemiology (EEPI), Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands

  • 6

    Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry/Psychology, Erasmus University Medical Centre–Sophia Children's Hospital, Rotterdam, the Netherlands


Environmental Research


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