From the abstract: “Mobile phone texting is a common daily occurrence with a paucity of research examining corresponding gait characteristics. To date, most studies have participants walk in a straight line vs. overcoming barriers and obstacles that occur during regular walking. The aim of our study is to examine the effect of mobile phone texting during periods of cognitive distraction while walking and negotiating barriers synonymous with pedestrian traffic.
Thirty participants (18-50y) completed three randomized, counter-balanced walking tasks over a course during: (1) normal walking (control), (2) texting and walking, and (3) texting and walking whilst being cognitively distraction via a standard mathematical test performed while negotiating the obstacle course. We analyzed gait characteristics during course negotiation using a 3-dimensional motion analysis system and a general linear model and Dunnet-Hsu post-hoc procedure the normal walking condition to assess gait characteristic differences. Primary outcomes included the overall time to complete the course time and barrier contact. Secondary outcomes included obstacle clearance height, step frequency, step time, double support phase and lateral deviation.