Types of boredom: An experience sampling approach

Abstract

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.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    As boredom is not a prototypical or basic emotional experience (e.g., Ekman 1984; Rosch 1978; Shaver et al. 1987), it has alternatively been classified in terms of constructs such as affect or mood.

  2. 2.

    With respect to Hypotheses 2 and 3, a total of 120 pairwise comparisons were calculated [for each construct 10 comparisons between the 5 classes × 6 constructs (well-being, satisfaction, enjoyment, anger, anxiety, dichotomous variable achievement vs. non-achievement situation) × 2 samples (university vs. high school student sample)]. Of the 120 comparisons, 18 were not significant in the university student sample and 22 were not significant in the high school student sample [in the case of significance: all ps < .017 for the university student sample; with one exception (p = .037) all ps < .019 for the high-school student sample].

  3. 3.

    Correlations (calculated across all assessments) between the affective state measures and the situation variable (coded as follows: 0 = non-achievement situation, 1 = achievement situation) were as follows for Studies 1/2: −.30/−.32 (ps < .001) for well-being; −.28/−.14 (ps < .001) for satisfaction; −.28/−.31 (ps < .001) for enjoyment; .14/.06 (p = .011/.056) for anger; .16/.08 (p = .006/.026) for anxiety.

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Goetz, T., Frenzel, A.C., Hall, N.C. et al. Types of boredom: An experience sampling approach. Motiv Emot 38, 401–419 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11031-013-9385-y

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Keywords

  • Boredom
  • Emotions
  • Achievement
  • Experience sampling