Original Paper

Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 38, Issue 3, pp 401-419

First online:

Types of boredom: An experience sampling approach

  • Thomas GoetzAffiliated withDepartment of Empirical Educational Research, University of Konstanz and Thurgau University of Teacher Education Email author 
  • , Anne C. FrenzelAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Munich
  • , Nathan C. HallAffiliated withDepartment of Educational and Counselling Psychology, McGill University
  • , Ulrike E. NettAffiliated withInstitute of Psychology and Education, University of Ulm
  • , Reinhard PekrunAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Munich
  • , Anastasiya A. LipnevichAffiliated withDivision of Education, Queens College, City University of New York

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The present study investigated different types of boredom as proposed in a four-categorical conceptual model by Goetz and Frenzel (2006; doi:10.​1026/​0049-8637.​38.​4.​149). In this model, four types of boredom are differentiated based on degrees of valence and arousal: indifferent, calibrating, searching, and reactant boredom. In two studies (Study 1: university students, N = 63, mean age 24.08 years, 66 % female; Study 2: high school students, grade 11, N = 80, mean age 17.05 years, 58 % female), real-time data were obtained via the experience-sampling method (personal digital assistants, randomized signals). Boredom experiences (N = 1,103/1,432 in Studies 1/2) were analyzed with respect to the dimensions of valence and arousal using multilevel latent profile analyses. Supporting the internal validity of the proposed boredom types, our results are in line with the assumed four types of boredom but suggest an additional, fifth type, referred to as “apathetic boredom.” The present findings further support the external validity of the five boredom types in showing differential relations between the boredom types and other affective states as well as frequency of situational occurrence (achievement contexts vs. non-achievement contexts). Methodological implications as well as directions for future research are discussed.


Boredom Emotions Achievement Experience sampling