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South African Journal of Occupational Therapy

On-line version ISSN 2310-3833
Print version ISSN 0038-2337


HOUGH, Ronette  and  NEL, Mariette. Time and space dimensions of computer laptop use amongst third year students of the University of the Free State. S. Afr. j. occup. ther. [online]. 2016, vol.46, n.1, pp.27-32. ISSN 2310-3833.

To broaden the knowledge base of occupation, therapists should understand how spaces, objects and time components support, shape and inhibit occupational performance. The aim of this study was to describe the spatial and temporal dimensions of laptop use amongst students at the University of the Free State in 2013. A descriptive study design was used with a sample of 216 third year students who make use of a laptop computer for academic and/or recreational purposes. Data were collected by means of an anonymous self-administered questionnaire in which the spatial and temporal dimensions were investigated. Student's postural configurations were identified and prioritised according to frequency of preference. The three most preferred positions during the academic year were sitting at a table on a chair with backrest (39.8%), sitting with one's back against a vertical surface (17.6%) and lying on one's back (11.1%). The median time spent on a laptop was 38.5 hours per week, which occurred in a variety of spatial contexts. Specific postural configurations and time components relative to the occupation of laptop use are conceptualised in this study. Recommendations call for a study to investigate the association between the preferred postural configurations and postural risks with the use of laptop computers.

Keywords : Laptop; university students; occupational therapy; spatial dimension; temporal dimension; technology.

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