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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2019  |  Volume : 22  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 121-126

Pencil grip patterns among pupils


Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, Delta State University, Delta State, Abraka, Nigeria

Date of Submission16-Dec-2017
Date of Acceptance28-Jul-2018
Date of Web Publication26-Sep-2019

Correspondence Address:
Mrs. Efe Jennifer Ojigho
Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, Delta State University, Delta State, Abraka
Nigeria
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DOI: 10.4103/smj.smj_75_17

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  Abstract 


Background: Pencil grip describes the position of the fingers in gripping a pencil. It commences in the preschool years with the introduction of pencils markers, and other graphomotor skills, therefore, relevant to graphologists, forensic medicine, and anthropology. Objective: This investigation aimed at describing the diversity of pencil-grip patterns among pupils in Delta State, Nigeria. The effects of sociodemographic factors, handedness, and handwriting speed on pencil-grip patterns were also highlighted. Materials and Methods: A stratified random sampling was employed in this cross-sectional study. A total of 284 pupils between the ages of 1 and 10 years were investigated. Pupils were observed while writing from their textbooks. Photograph of the writing hand was captured with the digital canon camera. Handwriting speed was determined by a speed score (L/min) and timed for 60 s for each participant. Data were analyzed using the Statistic Package for the Social Sciences 20. The Kruskal–Wallis (K.W.) test was used to establish the relationship between pencil-grip patterns and sociodemographic factors, handedness along with handwriting speed. Results: Findings showed that the age had a statistically significant effect on pencil-grip patterns among nursery pupils at P < 0.05 (K.W. = 23.78, df = 4, and P= 0.00). It was also observed that the gender had a statistically significant effect on pencil-grip patterns among primary pupils (P < 0.05)(K. W. = 6.89. df = 1, and P= 0.00). Conclusion: The dynamic tripod grip was predominant among participants; however, there were variations in grip patterns among participants which were attributed to the effect of some sociodemographic factors.

Keywords: Delta state, dynamic tripod, Nigeria, pencil grip, pupils


How to cite this article:
Odokuma IE, Ojigho EJ. Pencil grip patterns among pupils. Sahel Med J 2019;22:121-6

How to cite this URL:
Odokuma IE, Ojigho EJ. Pencil grip patterns among pupils. Sahel Med J [serial online] 2019 [cited 2019 Nov 20];22:121-6. Available from: http://www.smjonline.org/text.asp?2019/22/3/121/267901




  Introduction Top


Pencil grip has been described as the position of the fingers involved in gripping a pencil.[1] In a previous study by Napier,[2] two distinct grips were highlighted as follows: power and precision grips.[2] According to Napier,[2] the power grip involved clamping of the object between the fingers and palm, with the thumb in the same plane as the fingers whereas the precision grip involved pinching the object between the fingers and the thumb.[2] Previous studies reported that the use of learning materials among children commenced in the preschool years with the introduction of crayons, pencils, markers, and other graphomotor skills.[3],[4] Pencil-grip patterns have been noted to strongly influence childhood development especially in handwriting skills.[5] Various taxonomies of grip patterns have been proposed.[6],[7],[8]

In general, pencil grips are labeled according to the position of the fingers in relation to the pencil. Schneck and Henderson [7] observed that children initially adopted the primitive grip patterns, which described the fingers not being in opposition to each other while pencil movement originated from the forearm.[7] Transitional grip patterns emerged next, which comprised the cross thumb, four-finger, and static tripod grips.[7],[9] In all of them, the forearm rested on the table while the wrist served as the main source of pencil movement. Finally, mature grip patterns arise, and four have been identified and considered for functional writing.[6],[8] These are the dynamic tripod, dynamic quadrupod, lateral tripod, and lateral quadrupod grips.

The dynamic tripod grip has been the most recommended pencil-grip pattern because it allowed for efficient distal movements of the pencil and purportedly minimized muscle tension that could have resulted in fatigue.[4],[10] This grip pattern involved the thumb, index, and middle finger functioning together as a tripod.[11] Previous studies reported, it occurred between the ages of 4 and 6 years and continues to be refined up to age 14.[5],[7],[12] The dynamic quadrupod grip is very similar to the dynamic tripod grip but involved the thumb and three fingers. Benbow [13] observed it to be a common grip pattern in second-grade children.[13] The lateral grips differ from the dynamic grips regarding the thumb position.[1] According to Heidi,[1] in the dynamic grips, the thumb opposed whereas in the lateral grips, the thumb adducted the index, middle, and ring fingers (if a quadrupod grip).[1] With all the matured pencil-grip patterns, the movement of the pencil was produced by the interphalangeal joints and the intrinsic muscles of the hand.[4] In contrast, the pencil movement in immature grip patterns originated from the extrinsic muscles of the arm, leaving the fingers in a static posture.[4]

Previous studies had described pencil-grip patterns.[6],[7],[8],[13],[14] Pencil grip patterns have been studied in several races and countries, especially in Europe and Asia, [6],[7],[14] however this is not the case in the Sub-Saharan region of Africa; hence, this study is to my best of knowledge will for the first time demonstrate pencil-grip patterns among pupils in Delta State. The purpose of this study was to describe the diversity of pencil-grip patterns among pupils in Delta State, Nigeria. This research also aimed at determining the effects of sociodemographic factors, handedness, and handwriting speed on pencil-grip patterns in the studied population. Findings from this study will be highly imperative in diagnostic and forensic medicine and anthropology.


  Materials and Methods Top


This work was an empirical, observational cross-sectional study. It described the diversity of pencil-grip patterns among pupils in Delta State, Nigeria. Stratified random sampling was adopted. Delta state was stratified into the three senatorial districts. The population was targeted at Warri, Sapele, and Asaba towns, which are the largest towns in the three senatorial districts in Delta State, Nigeria. Participants were randomly selected from schools registered with the Delta State Government in Warri, Sapele, and Asaba towns. A total of 284 pupils between the ages of 1 and 10 years were investigated within Warri, Sapele, and Asaba towns. Only individuals from Delta State and those residing in Delta State were chosen. Primitive, transitional, and matured grip patterns from Schneck and Henderson [7] developmental scale, handedness, and handwriting speed were considered for this study. Sociodemographic factors were age, ethnicity, and gender.

Materials used were A4-sized papers, sharpened HB pencils, erasers, rulers, digital camera, and laptop computer. Sociodemographic factors were obtained from their school registers. Ethical approval protocol number DELSU/CHS/ANA/16/02 Issued on 16th April 2016 was obtained from the Research and Ethics Committee of the Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, Delta State University, Abraka, Nigeria. Consent of the parents or those with legal responsibility for the individuals was sought. Pupils were informed the aim of the observation, procedure, and benefit of the study. Pupils were observed for pencil-grip pattern while writing from their textbooks. Photograph of the writing hand was captured with the digital canon camera. For speedwriting, nursery pupils were asked to write alphabet A–C whereas primary pupils were asked to write alphabet A–Z continuously until they were told to stop. Handwriting speed was timed for 60 s for all participants and was determined by a speed score (L/min).[15]

Data were presented in frequencies and tables to show the distribution of pencil-grip patterns. The Kruskal–Wallis (K.W.) test, which is a nonparametric test for more than two categorical variables, was used to report the association between sociodemographic factors, handedness, handwriting speed, and pencil-grip patterns. Statistical evaluation was performed using Statistic Package for the Social Sciences 20 version. The statistical significance was accepted at P < 0.05.


  Results Top


A total of five primitive, two transitional, and four mature grip patterns, were observed in nursery pupils [Table 1] and [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3] whereas one primitive, two transitional, and two mature grip patterns were seen in primary pupils [Table 2]. A total of 147 nursery pupils were investigated [Table 2] while [Table 3] presents a total of 138 primary pupils. Among nursery pupils [Table 2], 55 males and 12 females adopted the primitive grip patterns, four males and three females used the transitional grip patterns whereas 41 males and 33 females adopted the matured grip patterns. [Table 3] reports that only one primary female adopted the primitive grip pattern, three males and six females used the transitional grip pattern whereas 67 males and 61 females used the matured grip patterns. [Table 4] and [Table 5] present tribes and gender distribution of grip patterns among nursery and primary pupils. Findings revealed that the dynamic quadrupod grip was seen more in nursery males than females whereas the dynamic tripod grip was adopted more by primary male pupils than females from the Edo tribe. Primitive grip patterns were observed among nursery pupils in 15 males and 5 females from the Ijaw/Itsekiri tribe [Table 4].
Table 1: Grip patterns observed among participants in warri, sapele, and asaba towns

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Figure 1: Primitive grip patterns observed among nursery and primary pupils. (a) grip with extended fingers (b) digital pronate grip (c) palmer supinate grip (d) brush grip

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Figure 2: Transitional grip patterns seen among nursery and primary pupils. (a) Static tripod grip (b) four-finger grip pattern

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Figure 3: Matured grip patterns observed within 3–5 years among participants. ( a) Lateral tripod grip (b) lateral quadrupod grip (c) dynamic tripod grip (d) dynamic quadrupod grip

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Table 2: Age and gender distribution among nursery pupils

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Table 3: Age and gender distribution of pencil-grip patterns among primary pupils

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Table 4: Tribe and gender distribution of pencil-grip patterns among nursery pupils Tribe Male pencil-grip patterns Female

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Table 5: Tribe and gender distribution of pencil-grip patterns among primary pupils

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Transitional grip patterns were seen in one primary male pupil and three females from the Urhobo/Isoko tribe [Table 5]. The dynamic grips were more predominant than the lateral grips among nursery and primary pupils from the Igbo/Ika/Ukwani tribes [Table 4] and [Table 5]. Findings showed that a total of 18 nursery pupils and a total of 21 primary pupils from the Igbo/Ika/Ukwani tribe adopted the dynamic grip patterns [Table 4] and [Table 5]. Transitional and mature grip patterns were seen in both nursery and primary pupils from the Yoruba tribe [Table 4] and [Table 5]. Among Hausa participants, only the brush grip (one male), the grip with extended fingers (three males), and the static tripod grip (one male) were seen in nursery male pupils while the dynamic quadrupod grip was the only grip pattern found among the females [Table 4]. [Table 5] presents a total of three primary males and two females from the Hausa tribe who used the dynamic grips.

[Table 6] showed that the dynamic tripod grip was predominant among the right-handed and left-handed male and female nursery pupils. It was also common among the right-handed and left-handed primary males while the dynamic quadrupod was frequently used by the right-handed and left-handed primary females.
Table 6: Pencil-grip patterns common among right and left-handed participants

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[Table 7] records that nursery pupils with primitive grip pattern had the fastest handwriting speed whereas the primary pupils with transitional and mature grip patterns had the fastest handwriting speed. Observation in [Table 8] shows that age had a statistically significant effect on pencil-grip patterns among nursery pupils at P < 0.05 (K.W. =23.78, df = 4, P= 0.00). It was also summarized in [Table 8] that gender had a statistically significant effect on pencil-grip patterns among primary pupils at P < 0.05 (K.W. =6.89. df = 1, and P= 0.00). [Table 9] showed that the variation in pencil grip did not appreciably influence handwriting speed.
Table 7: Handwriting speed and pencil-grip pattern among participants

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Table 8: Effects of sociodemographic factors on pencil-grip patterns

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Table 9: Effects of handedness and handwriting speed on pencil-grip patterns

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  Discussion Top


The most common grip pattern among nursery pupils was the dynamic tripod grip. It was also adopted more by primary male pupils while the dynamic quadrupod grip was prevalent among the females. Findings were similar to a cross-sectional study on pencil and crayon grips among American school children.[7] According to their study, the percentage of children who used the matured grip patterns ranged from an initial level of 48% to 90%.[7] Primitive grip patterns from this investigation were observed in nursery pupils aged 1–5 years, with an exception to pupils of both sexes aged 1 year and female pupils aged 2 years. The palmer supinate grip was frequent among those age groups. The digital pronate grip was seen in pupils aged 1–2 years. Findings were in accordance with a previous study by Tseng on pencil-grip patterns in school children.[8]

The result from this investigation shows that pencil-grip patterns in nursery pupils did not follow a chronological order. This observation is similar to a study by Bloote and Dijkstra [16] who found a phenomenon of alternating patterns in children's writing development.[16] Mature grip patterns from this work emerged among nursery pupils within 3–5 years. Findings were not in accordance with the previous studies.[7],[12],[17] According to preceding studies, children adopted the dynamic tripod grip between 4 and 6 years of age.[7],[12],[17] Girls from our investigation, especially the three and 4 year olds, frequently showed the lateral tripod grip. Findings were in concordance with those of Schneck and Henderson.[7] Male primary pupils from this research aged 6–10 years adopted the dynamic tripod grip more than their female counterparts.

This was in accordance with existing studies on pencil-grip patterns among American school children.[7] Further observation from this investigation shows that female pupils of the same age used the dynamic quadrupod grip more than their male counterparts. Observations were different from a previous report, which recorded a higher percentage of children aged 6 years and 7 years adopting the lateral tripod grip.[8] The result was also different from that of Heidi et al.,[1] who stipulated that the lateral quadrupod grip was seen more in females than males.[1]

Investigation from this empirical study shows that the static tripod grip was seen only in males aged 8–9 years and females aged 9 years. The four-finger grip pattern was noticed only in females aged 8 years and both sexes aged 10 years. Findings were similar to the study carried out on Taiwanese children.[8] The study on Taiwanese children reports few participants who adopted the four-finger grip pattern.[8] Nursery pupils from our investigation used the grip with extended fingers more than primary pupils whereas primary pupils adopted the static tripod grip more than nursery pupils.

Age had an effect on pencil-grip pattern among nursery pupils aged 1–5 years. It was observed that gender had an effect on pencil-grip patterns in primary pupils aged 6–10 years. Observation does not correspond with multiple studies that compared the grips of school boys and girls.[7],[8],[18] Handedness has been defined as the natural or biological preference for using one hand more than the other performing special tasks depending on which hemisphere of the brain is dominant for the task.[10] Our findings from this study report that variation in the pencil-grip pattern was independent on handedness and handwriting speed among participants. The results were similar to the previous studies carried out in Europe.[1],[7],[9] A drawback of this study is that the pupils might not have consistent pencil grip pattern.


  Conclusion Top


The dynamic tripod grip was the most predominant grip pattern observed among participants. However, they were variations in grip patterns which could be attributed to some sociodemographic factors.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
Heidi DS. Pencil grip pattern: How critical is it to functional handwriting. Am J Occup Ther 2012;13:1-22.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Napier JR. The prehensile movements of the human hand. J Bone Joint Surg Br 1956;38-B:902-13.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Abbott RB, Berninger VW. Structural equation modeling of relationships among developmental skills and writing skills in primary and intermediate grade writer. J Educ Psychol 1993;85:478-508.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Elliott JM, Connolly KJ. A classification of manipulative hand movements. Dev Med Child Neurol 1984;26:283-96.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
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Ziviani J. Children prehension while writing. A pilot investigation. Br Occup Ther J 1982;45:306-7.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Dennis JL, Swinth Y. Pencil grasp and children's handwriting legibility during different-length writing tasks. Am J Occup Ther 2001;55:175-83.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
Schneck CM, Henderson A. Descriptive analysis of the developmental progression of grip position for pencil and crayon control in nondysfunctional children. Am J Occup Ther 1990;44:893-900.  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.
Tseng MH. Handwriting assessment for Chinese elementary school students. World Fed Occup Ther Bull 1998;37:17-23.  Back to cited text no. 8
    
9.
Saida Y, Miyashita M. Development of fine motor skill in children. Manipulation of a pencil in young children aged 2 to 6 years old. J Hum Mov Stud 1979;5:104-13.  Back to cited text no. 9
    
10.
Bergmann KP. Incidence of atypical pencil grasps among nondysfunctional adults. Am J Occup Ther 1990;44:736-40.  Back to cited text no. 10
    
11.
Jones D, Christensen CA. Relationships between automaticity in handwriting and students ability to generate written text. J Educ Psychol 1999;91:44-9.  Back to cited text no. 11
    
12.
Rosenbloom L, Horton ME. The maturation of fine prehension in yound children. Dev Med Child Neurol 1971;13:3-8.  Back to cited text no. 12
    
13.
Benbow M. Sensory and Motor Measurements of Dynamic Tripod Skill. Unpublished thesis; 1987.  Back to cited text no. 13
    
14.
Ann-Sofie S. Pencil grip. A descriptive model and four empirical studies. Amr J Occup Ther (Abo Finland) 1996;90:783-897.  Back to cited text no. 14
    
15.
Phelps J, Stempel L, Speck G. The children's handwriting: A new diagnostic scale. J Educ Res 1957;79:46-50.  Back to cited text no. 15
    
16.
Bloote AW, Dijkstra JF. Task effects on young children's performance in manipulating a pencil. Hum Mov Sci 1989;8:515-28.  Back to cited text no. 16
    
17.
Erhardt RP. Developmental hand dysfunction: Theory, assessment, and treatment. Erhardt Developmental Prehension Assessment. Laurel, Maryland: Ramsco Publishing; 1994. p. 123-4.  Back to cited text no. 17
    
18.
Sassoon R, Nimmo-Smith I, Wing AM. An analysis of children's penholds. In: Kao HS, van Galen GP, Hoosain R, editors. Graphonomics. North-Holland: Elsevier; 1986. p. 93-106.  Back to cited text no. 18
    


    Figures

  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3]
 
 
    Tables

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4], [Table 5], [Table 6], [Table 7], [Table 8], [Table 9]



 

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