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

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 = 2495) 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
JournalJournal of Personality
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

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.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors. Journal of Personality published by Wiley Periodicals LLC.

Keywords

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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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