Correlation between the ability to manipulate a touchscreen device and hand strength and manual dexterity among community-living older individuals

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Information regarding the relationship between the degree of hand function among the elderly as measured by traditional assessments and the ability to manipulate touchscreens is lacking. This study aimed to examine the correlation between the ability to manipulate a touchscreen device, as assessed using the touchscreen assessment tool (TATOO) (University of Haifa, Israel & Universetiy of Bologna, Italy), and hand strength and manual dexterity among independent community-living older individuals. Thirty-four community-living older adults (average age 79.4 ± 6.7 years) participated in single-session assessments lasting 45 min each. The assessment included hand strength measurement using the manual hand dynamometry and hydraulic pinch gauge, a functional dexterity test (FDT), and TATOO. No significant correlations were observed between most of the TATOO items (22 out of 26) and handgrip strength, pinch strength, and FDT results. Moderately significant correlations were demonstrated between the number of drag attempts in the “Drag to different directions” task and handgrip strength and manual dexterity (r value: −0.39, p value: 0.02; r value: 0.36, p value: 0.04, respectively). In addition, a moderately significant correlation was noted between the number of double taps and manual dexterity (r value: 0.32, p value: 0.07). These results indicate that more complex gestures that require greater accuracy (dragging task) or rapid movements (double tapping) are related to hand strength and manual dexterity. These results suggest that the manual gestures necessary for touchscreen operation entail unique and specific capabilities that are generally not captured by traditional tools. The clinical implication is that the hand function assessment toolbox should be expanded. Tools such as the TATOO should be used to capture skills required for touchscreen manipulation in the context of the modern digital milieu.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9408
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number17
StatePublished - 6 Sep 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Assessment
  • Hand function
  • Older adults
  • Touchscreen assessment tool
  • Touchscreen manipulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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