R. A. Fankhauser, R. A. Bender, I. R. Iral, W. M. Silvers

Whitworth University, Spokane, WA

Hand dexterity is vital for carrying out activities of daily living and some career-specific tasks. Existing methods to improve hand dexterity are mainly focused on children, disease populations, and those in specific careers. While some methods to improve hand dexterity have been researched, there may be more methods than those identified in the literature. Frequent engagement in hobbies that use fine motor skills may improve an individual’s hand dexterity. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between hand dexterity and frequency of engagement in hobbies that use fine motor skills in college-aged students ranging from 18 to 23 yrs. METHODS: Fifty-seven 18 to 23 yrs undergraduate students without finger, hand, or arm injuries completed this study. To start each session, subjects completed a questionnaire about their age, sex, hand preference, and average hours per week they engage in various fine motor skill hobbies. Thereafter, subjects completed the Purdue Pegboard Test (PPBT), which consisted of four subtests that evaluated how quickly and accurately subjects could use their hands. A Spearman’s rank-order correlation for each subtest was used to determine whether a statistically significant relationship existed between the dependent variables. RESULTS: A significant weak positive correlation was identified for assembly score (38.8 ± 6.2 points) and hours of engagement in hobbies that use fine motor skills (4.9 ± 6.3 hours; r = 0.265; p = 0.046). There were non-significant weak relationships between hours of engagement in hobbies that use fine motor skills (4.9 ± 6.3 hours) and left hand score (13.4 ± 1.7 points; r = 0.018, p = 0.897), right hand score (14.0 ± 1.9 points; r = -0.046, p = 0.736), and both hands score (11.2 ± 1.3 points; r = 0.179; p = 0.183). Alternative analysis of the data, which factored in hand dominance, produced similar results. CONCLUSION: The primary explanation for the main finding may be that the assembly task required skills that were more closely connected to the types of hobbies subjects engaged in. Future research that investigates whether engaging in some hobbies can improve an individual’s hand dexterity is needed.

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