In adults the preferred hand is often considered to be around 10% stronger than the non-preferred hand. Whether the same is true for children and adolescents remains unclear. The objective of this study is therefore to determine whether there is a difference in grip strength between the preferred and non-preferred hand in developing children, to establish whether this difference is similar for children of a different gender or hand preference, and whether there is a difference in grip strength of the preferred hand of left-preferent (LP) and right-preferent (RP) children.
Participants were recruited from schools in the northern provinces of the Netherlands. The study included healthy children and adolescents in the age range of 4-17 years.
Each child was allowed a total of four attempts using the JAMAR hand dynamometer, two attempts with each hand. All individual attempts were scored. Hand preference was determined by asking which hand was used to write, or in the case of 4- and 5-year-olds, which hand was used to draw a shape.
The study population comprised 2284 children and adolescents. RP boys and girls scored significantly higher with their preferred hand, the difference amounting to 9.5 and 10.1% respectively. LP girls scored significantly higher with their preferred hand, but this difference was only 3.0%. For LP boys no significant difference was found in favor of either hand. LP children score higher with the non-preferred hand and tie scores on both hands more often than RP children.
The 10% rule of hand preference is applicable to RP children ranging in age between 4 and 17 years, but not to LP children. In contrast to LP boys, LP girls are generally significantly stronger with their preferred hand.
- PINCH STRENGTH