Millennials, the thoroughbreds of texting, may lag behind previous generations when it comes to old-fashioned hand strength.
In a study of Americans ages 20-34, occupational therapists found that men younger than 30 have significantly weaker hand grips than their counterparts in 1985 did. The same was true of women ages 20-24, according to the study published online by the Journal of Hand Therapy a few months back.
The findings suggest that it's time to update what constitutes normal hand strength. The norms are used to assess the severity of injuries and how well people are recovering.
"Work patterns have changed dramatically since 1985, when the first norms were established," says Elizabeth Fain of Winston-Salem State University, who led the study with Cara Weatherford. "As a society, we're no longer agricultural or manufacturing ... What we're doing more now is technology-related, especially for millennials."
To find out if millennials are more flimsy-fingered than older Americans, Fain and Weatherford collected data from 237 volunteers. After conducting a test to exclude anyone with preexisting thumb injuries, the researchers had millennials squeeze a hand dynamometer — a joystick-like device with a dial to measure the strength of a grip in pounds.