Introduction: Mobile phone use can be addictive for the young. However, little is known about the behavioral and biological effects of this addiction among the student population.
Aim: The purpose of this study was to explore the effects of mobile phone use on the health behaviors and specific biomarkers in a sample of Greek students.
Methods: Sample included 104 Nursing students from a stratified randomised sample. In 30 ran- domly selected out of the 104 students, melatonin and total antioxidant levels in saliva were also measured. Mobile phone dependence was estimated with the Mobile Phone Dependence Question- naire by Toda et al and general health with the GHQ-28. We used the Antioxidant assay kit-SIGMA to measure the total antioxidant levels and the anosoenzymic method ELISA (IBL kit) to measure melatonine levels. Analysis was performed with SPSS v15.0 software. All hypothesis were tested at a p<0,05 level.
Results: No statistical difference between genders was detected (p=0.182). High dependence was apparent in 13.5% of the sample, which correlated with worse general health (p=0.004), greater alcohol consumption (p=0.007), sleep disturbances (p=0.02) and worse nutritional habits (p=0.032). Moreover, high mobile dependent students exhibited higher concentration of early morning mel- atonin (p=0.07) and lower antioxidant concentration (p=0.333) in saliva, compared to low mobile dependent students.
Conclusions: Excessive use of mobiles among students seems to correlate with unhealthy habits and impaired health. The effect in well known biomarkers may suggest the burden of the health of the student population. However, the long term effects on health require further investigation.
KEYWORDS: Antioxidants, health behaviors, mobile phones, melatonin. students