Boredom belief moderates the mental health impact of boredom among young people: Correlational and multi-wave longitudinal evidence gathered during the COVID-19 pandemic

Katy Y. Y. Tam, Christian S. Chan, Wijnand A. P. van Tilburg, Iris Lavi, Jennifer Y. F. Lau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (SciVal)

Abstract

Objectives
Young people’s experience of boredom and its psychological health sequelae have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The present study examined the moderating role of boredom beliefs—the extent to which one affectively dislikes boredom (boredom dislike) and cognitively accepts it (boredom normalcy)—on the association between boredom experience and mental well-being. We also validated a new measure of boredom beliefs in two different samples of young people.
Method
We report data from a correlational study with British young people aged 12–25 (Study 1; N = 2,495) and a 16-week eight-wave within-subject study with Israeli adolescents aged 12–18 (Study 2; N = 314).
Results
Across both studies, disliking boredom was associated with higher frequency and intensity of boredom. Boredom dislike moderated the negative association between boredom and mental well-being, such that the association was more salient among those who strongly disliked boredom. Normalizing boredom was positively associated with mental well-being. The measure of boredom beliefs demonstrated fair validity and reliability.
Conclusion
Results provide novel insights into the potential buffering effect of boredom beliefs against the mental health impact of boredom, particularly at a time of reduced activity. These findings generalize across two different countries.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)638-652
JournalJournal of Personality
Volume91
Issue number3
Early online date4 Aug 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank Laura Riddleston and Taryn Hutchinson for their assistance in data collection. This study was supported by the Emergency funds for Covid‐19 from the Rosetrees Trust (M949) and the University of Haifa start‐up grant.

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • adolescents
  • boredom
  • emotion beliefs
  • mental well-being
  • young adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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