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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 48-55

WhatsApp use and its impact on relationships among doctors: A cross-sectional pilot study

1 Department of Psychiatry, NKP Salve Institute of Medical Sciences and Lata Mangeshkar Hospital, Nagpur, Maharashtra, India
2 Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Abhijeet D Faye
Department of Psychiatry, (OPD-10), 2nd Floor, OPD Building, NKP Salve Institute of Medical Sciences and Lata Mangeshkar Hospital, Digdoh Hills, Hingna Road, Nagpur - 440 019, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/aip.aip_58_19

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Background: Social media like WhatsApp is known to affect relationships of an individual, and busy professionals like doctors appear no bar. The objectives of this study were to analyze the pattern of WhatsApp use in specialist-doctors and to study its effect on their relationships. Materials and Methods: This was a cross-sectional pilot study. Consecutively selected hundred married specialist doctors were assessed using self-reported validated questionnaire including questions related to demographics, WhatsApp use, and effects on relationships in a tertiary care center. Statistical analysis was performed using mean, standard deviation, t-test, and Chi-square test. A value of P < 0.05 was considered statistically significant. Results: Participants of various specialties, with a mean age of 41.5 years reported regular WhatsApp-use (89%) of mean duration 2.5 years with 19% spending >2 h/day. About 62% reported using WhatsApp during personal time, leading to reduction in time spent with spouse (37%), impairment in household responsibilities (24%), disturbances in social-activities (26%) and craving. About 36% reported negative effects on married life. 21% reported inability to spend quality-time with spouse, 24% had concern about spouse's WhatsApp-use, 25% reported reduced cohesion between them and 22% felt that excessive use can create doubts in spouse's mind. Those aged <40 years had significantly higher total duration and time spent/day on WhatsApp and reported more conflicts with spouse and reduced expression of love. Conclusion: Inappropriate WhatsApp use can affect many aspects of life of doctors including relationships though exact causal relation is not demonstrated and it should be used judiciously.

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