Prevalence and health correlates of Online Fatigue: A cross-sectional study on the Italian academic community during the COVID-19 pandemic

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Background During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people had to shift their social and work life online. A few researchers and journalists described a new form of fatigue associated with a massive use of technology, including videoconferencing platforms. In this study, this type of fatigue was referred to as Online Fatigue. A new tool (the Online Fatigue Scale) was developed, and its psychometric properties were evaluated. This tool was used to assess Online Fatigue among Italian academics and to examine its associations with psychological and physical health. Methods An online survey was conducted in December 2020 on a sample of Italian academics. Besides the Online Fatigue Scale (11 items) used to assess Online Fatigue, the survey was composed of questionnaires (including validated measures) focused on sociodemographic and job-related information, technostress creators, health status, psychological well-being, and COVID-related perceived distress. The psychometric properties of the Online Fatigue Scale were evaluated, and statistical analyses were conducted to examine the associations between Online Fatigue and all the other variables. Results Participants were 307 academics aged 24–70 years old (mean age = 40.7; SD = 10.1). The Online Fatigue Scale showed good psychometric properties. Two subscales were identified: Off-Balance Fatigue and Virtual Relations Fatigue. High levels of Off-Balance Fatigue were associated with a greater use of technology, female gender, and presence of minor children. Participants with high scores on both subscales reported a greater frequency of psychosomatic symptoms, unhealthy habits, poorer psychological well-being, and greater Covidrelated perceived distress. Conclusions The Online Fatigue Scale can be considered a reliable tool to assess Online Fatigue, which was significantly detected in our sample of Italian academics, along with its negative effects on physical and psychological health. Being a woman and having young children represent important risk factors. Universities should promote the separation between work and private life by encouraging self-care activities
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)1-19
Numero di pagine19
RivistaPLoS One
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2021


  • Covid
  • Health Correlates
  • Online Fatigue
  • psychometric properties


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