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Boredom in Health, Education and Sports

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 July 2022) | Viewed by 20507

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
University of Konstanz, Department of Sport Science/Sport Psychology, 78464 Konstanz, Germany;Department of Educational Psychology, University of Bern, 3012 Bern, Switzerland
Interests: boredom; self-control; mental effort; physical effort; self-regulation; exercise; public health; sport psychology; performance

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Guest Editor
Social Psychology and Motivation, University of Konstanz, 78464 Konstanz, Germany
Interests: self-regulation; self-control; motivation; goals; if-then planning; boredom; academic achievement; education; performance enhancement

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Guest Editor
Faculty of Psychology, Swiss Distance University Institute, 3900 Brig, Switzerland
Interests: attention; boredom; mind-wandering; self-control; learning; memory

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Guest Editor
University of Konstanz, Department of Sport Science/Sport Psychology, 78464 Konstanz, Germany
Interests: self-control; self-regulation; public health; health psychology; intrinsic motivation; implicit motives; sports performance; boredom

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Recent years have seen substantial advancements in research on boredom, highlighting the powerful role it plays in motivating human behavior and hinting at its potentially profound implications for environmental and public health issues. Empirical and theoretical work indicates that the sensation of boredom functions as a signal that an ongoing activity is not worth allocating attention to and that one should rather pursue alternative, potentially more rewarding activities. Thus, boredom triggers exploration behavior, and this can prompt people to engage in adaptive as well as in maladaptive behaviors. Boredom occurs in situations where the attentional demands of an activity do not match with the persons’ attentional capacity and/or when the ongoing activity is perceived as meaningless. The tendency to get bored in these situations is associated with relatively stable individual differences in boredom proneness, making some people more likely to get bored than others.

Importantly, various activities that convey great environmental and health benefits display structural properties that render them likely to induce boredom, and this might deter people from engaging in these activities. For example, regular physical exercise conveys substantial benefits for personal and public health. However, the repetitiveness of exercise and the fact that gains only occur in small incremental steps can make exercise boring. Additionally, boredom is highly prevalent in academic settings, where it may not only interfere with achievement and performance but also with students’ well-being and health. In addition to preventing people from engaging in desirable behaviors, the experience of boredom can cause people to indulge in unhealthy behaviors and lifestyles, as well. Indeed, various behaviors that are detrimental to one’s health or wellbeing (e.g., gambling, substance abuse, snacking, problematic smartphone use) can be utilized to escape boredom due to the more immediate gratification they offer. 

In this Special Issue, we call for submissions that investigate the impact of boredom on environmental and public health issues through the lens of one of the three contexts outlined above: sports and exercise, education, and (un-)healthy behavior. By combining research from three fields where boredom is likely to substantially affect behavior for better or worse, we hope to create synergies between these fields and advance the general understanding of the impact boredom has on matters of societal and personal relevance.

Dr. Wanja Wolff
Dr. Maik Bieleke
Prof. Dr. Corinna Martarelli
Prof. Dr. Julia Schüler
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2500 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • boredom
  • exercise
  • health
  • sports
  • self-regulation
  • self-control
  • education
  • school
  • achievement
  • academic success
  • mind-wandering
  • attention

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

15 pages, 1797 KiB  
Article
24 Hours on the Run—Does Boredom Matter for Ultra-Endurance Athletes’ Crises?
by Christian Weich, Julia Schüler and Wanja Wolff
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(11), 6859; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19116859 - 03 Jun 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2161
Abstract
Sport and exercise can be boring. In the general population, thinking of sports as boring has been linked to exercising less. However, less is known about the role of boredom in people who participate in ultra-endurance competitions: Do these athletes also associate their [...] Read more.
Sport and exercise can be boring. In the general population, thinking of sports as boring has been linked to exercising less. However, less is known about the role of boredom in people who participate in ultra-endurance competitions: Do these athletes also associate their sports with boredom, and does boredom pose a self-regulatory challenge that predicts if they encounter a crisis during an ultra-endurance competition? Here, we investigate these questions with a sample of N = 113 (n = 34 female) competitors of a 24 h hour running competition, aged M = 37.6 ± 13.8 years. In this study, n = 23 very extreme athletes competed as single starters or in a relay team of 2, and n = 84 less extreme athletes competed in relay teams of 4 or 6. Before the run, athletes completed self-report measures on sport-specific trait boredom, as well as the degree to which they expected boredom, pain, effort, and willpower to constitute self-regulatory challenges they would have to cope with. After the run, athletes reported the degree to which they actually had to deal with these self-regulatory challenges and if they had faced an action crisis during the competition. Analyses revealed that very extreme athletes displayed a significantly lower sport-specific trait boredom than less extreme athletes (p = 0.024, d=0.48). With respect to self-regulatory challenges, willpower, pain, and effort were expected and reported at a much higher rate than boredom. However, only boredom was as a significant predictor of experiencing a crisis during the competition (odds ratio = 12.5, p = 0.02). Our results show that boredom also matters for highly active athletes. The fact that the experience of boredom—and not more prototypical competition-induced challenges, such as pain or effort—were linked to having an action crisis highlights the relevance of incorporating boredom into the preparation for a race and to the performance management during competition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Boredom in Health, Education and Sports)
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11 pages, 2045 KiB  
Article
Boredom Proneness Predicts Self-Assessed Decision Errors in Sports but Is Unrelated to Risk Taking in General
by Wanja Wolff, Maik Bieleke and Lucas Keller
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(6), 3479; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19063479 - 15 Mar 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2256
Abstract
Introduction: Boredom proneness is linked to poor self-regulation, leading to poor decision making and/or increased risk taking. These links have not yet been investigated in the domain of sports and exercise. However, poor decisions or excessive risk behavior would be highly detrimental [...] Read more.
Introduction: Boredom proneness is linked to poor self-regulation, leading to poor decision making and/or increased risk taking. These links have not yet been investigated in the domain of sports and exercise. However, poor decisions or excessive risk behavior would be highly detrimental to sporting performance and, in some cases, even cause physical harm. Here, we address this gap by assessing if boredom proneness is linked to general risk taking, sport-specific risk taking, and to regrets about sports-specific decision errors with respect to acting too risky or too passively. Methods: N = 936 athletes (27.6 ± 9.0 years, 89.6% men): n = 330 Climbers (31.8 ± 10.7 years, 82.4% men), n = 83 Snowboarders (29.9 ± 8.3 years, 79.5% men), and n = 523 Esports athletes (24.6 ± 6.3 years, 95.8% men) completed the Short Boredom Proneness Scale (SBPS), along with measures for objective risk taking (Balloon Analogue Risk Task; BART), subjective risk taking (general willingness to take risks), as well as assessments for sport-specific risk taking and regrets for sports-specific decision errors (taking too many risks, failing to act at all). In the two extreme sports samples (i.e., climbers and snowboarders), we additionally assessed self-selected outcome certainty in a hypothetical sports-specific scenario where an error would result in physical harm. Results: A series of multiple regression analyses revealed that boredom proneness was unrelated to objective and subjective general risk taking, but a significant predictor of sport-specific risk taking and higher risk taking in the sports scenario (climbers and snowboarders only). Most importantly, boredom proneness predicted regrets for taking too many risks and being too passive. Exploratory post-hoc analyses further indicated that boredom proneness in extreme sports athletes was lower than in esports athletes. Higher boredom proneness was significantly related to lower skill levels across all kinds of sport. Discussion: Across three athlete samples, boredom proneness was unrelated to general risk taking but significantly related to poorer decision making, as indicated by regrets about acting too risky and too passively, as well as demanding a significantly lower safety threshold to make a risky sports-specific choice. While at odds with the often-reported link between boredom proneness and risk taking, these results are consistent with the conceptualization of boredom proneness as a maladaptive self-regulatory disposition that leads to noisy decision making in sports. In addition, we provide preliminary evidence that boredom proneness covaries with self-selection into specific types of sports and might also stand in the way of skill acquisition in sports. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Boredom in Health, Education and Sports)
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21 pages, 402 KiB  
Article
Having a Break or Being Imprisoned: Influence of Subjective Interpretations of Quarantine and Isolation on Boredom
by Silke Ohlmeier, Corinna Klingler, Isabell Schellartz and Holger Pfaff
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(4), 2207; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19042207 - 15 Feb 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2119
Abstract
Boredom has been identified as one of the greatest psychological challenges when staying at home during quarantine and isolation. However, this does not mean that the situation necessarily causes boredom. On the basis of 13 explorative interviews with bored and non-bored persons who [...] Read more.
Boredom has been identified as one of the greatest psychological challenges when staying at home during quarantine and isolation. However, this does not mean that the situation necessarily causes boredom. On the basis of 13 explorative interviews with bored and non-bored persons who have been under quarantine or in isolation, we explain why boredom is related to a subjective interpretation process rather than being a direct consequence of the objective situation. Specifically, we show that participants vary significantly in their interpretations of staying at home and, thus, also in their experience of boredom. While the non-bored participants interpret the situation as a relief or as irrelevant, the bored participants interpret it as a major restriction that only some are able to cope with. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Boredom in Health, Education and Sports)
13 pages, 1003 KiB  
Article
Boredom Intervention Training Phase I: Increasing Boredom Knowledge through a Psychoeducational Video
by Patti C. Parker, Virginia M. C. Tze, Lia M. Daniels and Alyse Sukovieff
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(21), 11712; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182111712 - 08 Nov 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2452
Abstract
Boredom is a salient emotion experienced in postsecondary settings, and evidence reveals that it can negatively impact academic achievement and motivation. Drawing from the control-value theory (CVT) of achievement emotions (Pekrun, 2006) and the component process model of emotions (CPM; Scherer, 1984), our [...] Read more.
Boredom is a salient emotion experienced in postsecondary settings, and evidence reveals that it can negatively impact academic achievement and motivation. Drawing from the control-value theory (CVT) of achievement emotions (Pekrun, 2006) and the component process model of emotions (CPM; Scherer, 1984), our study examines the first phase of a multi-sequenced online boredom intervention training (BIT) program. The goal of Phase I of BIT was to increase university students’ (N = 85) knowledge about boredom as a scholarly construct. Students completed four components of the Phase I BIT session, including: (a) a baseline survey and knowledge quiz, (b) a psychoeducational video, (c) a consolidation exercise, and (d) a follow-up knowledge quiz. We employed a repeated measures analysis to measure changes in knowledge after students watched the psychoeducational boredom video. Our findings reveal that students became more knowledgeable about boredom, learned something novel, and were interested in the intervention. The results are discussed in terms of the implications for research, theory, and practice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Boredom in Health, Education and Sports)
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13 pages, 551 KiB  
Article
Boredom Makes Me Sick: Adolescents’ Boredom Trajectories and Their Health-Related Quality of Life
by Manuel M. Schwartze, Anne C. Frenzel, Thomas Goetz, Reinhard Pekrun, Corinna Reck, Anton K.G. Marx and Daniel Fiedler
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(12), 6308; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18126308 - 10 Jun 2021
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 4174
Abstract
Existing research shows consistent links between boredom and depression, somatic complaints, substance abuse, or obesity and eating disorders. However, comparatively little is known about potential psychological and physical health-related correlates of academic boredom. Evidence for such a relationship can be derived from the [...] Read more.
Existing research shows consistent links between boredom and depression, somatic complaints, substance abuse, or obesity and eating disorders. However, comparatively little is known about potential psychological and physical health-related correlates of academic boredom. Evidence for such a relationship can be derived from the literature, as boredom has adverse consequences in both work and achievement-related settings. The present study investigates latent correlations of 1.484 adolescents’ (Mage = 13.23) mathematics boredom scores at three time points during a semester in 2018/19 and their Rasch scaled health-related quality of life (HRQoL). Moreover, we applied latent growth curve modeling to estimate boredom trajectories across the semester and determined the relationship between the latent growth parameters of student boredom and HRQoL in bivariate correlation analyses. Our results show that boredom is significantly negatively linked with all HRQoL dimensions (physical well-being, psychological well-being, autonomy and parent relation, social support and peers, school environment [SCH], and general HRQoL [GH]). Furthermore, stronger increases in boredom across the semester were negatively associated with SCH scores and GH. In conclusion, given that boredom is negatively linked with HRQoL and that stronger boredom growth is linked with more severe health-related problems, signs of academic boredom could be an early warning signal for adolescents’ potentially severe problems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Boredom in Health, Education and Sports)
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11 pages, 796 KiB  
Article
Bored to Be Wild: How Boredom Is Related to Pre-Service Teachers’ Intention to Persist in Their Studies
by Catherine Audrin and Marine Hascoët
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(9), 4452; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18094452 - 22 Apr 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2320
Abstract
Boredom is an emotion that often arises in an educational context. Past research suggests that boredom depends on specific cognitive appraisals, such as how people can control the task and how much they value it. Research further suggests that boredom is related to [...] Read more.
Boredom is an emotion that often arises in an educational context. Past research suggests that boredom depends on specific cognitive appraisals, such as how people can control the task and how much they value it. Research further suggests that boredom is related to negative academic outcomes such as lower grades and a higher risk of dropping out. Here, we tested a mediation model on 324 pre-service teachers during the first lockdown of 2020 in Switzerland to assess (1) how control and value predicted boredom, and (2) how boredom was related to the intention to persist at university. We hypothesized that (1) the more participants felt lacking in control and low in value, the higher their boredom and (2) the more intense their boredom, the lower their intention to persist. We further hypothesized that both control and value would be positively related to the intention to persist, and this link may be mediated by boredom. Our results provide partial support for our mediation model as we found a significant indirect link between control and intention to persist through boredom. More specifically, the more participants lost control over their studies, the more they felt bored, which in turn was negatively related to their intention to persist. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Boredom in Health, Education and Sports)
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13 pages, 359 KiB  
Article
Boredom Proneness and Self-Control as Unique Risk Factors in Achievement Settings
by Jhotisha Mugon, James Boylan and James Danckert
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(23), 9116; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17239116 - 06 Dec 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2670
Abstract
The state of boredom arises when we have the desire to be engaged in goal pursuit, but for whatever reason we cannot fulfil that desire. Boredom proneness is characterized by both frequent and intense feelings of boredom and is an enduring individual difference [...] Read more.
The state of boredom arises when we have the desire to be engaged in goal pursuit, but for whatever reason we cannot fulfil that desire. Boredom proneness is characterized by both frequent and intense feelings of boredom and is an enduring individual difference trait associated with a raft of negative outcomes. There has been some work in educational settings, but relatively little is known about the consequences of boredom proneness for learning. Here we explored the unique contributions of boredom proneness, self-control and self-esteem to undergraduate self-reported higher grade point average (GPA). Within educational settings, prior research has shown self-control and self-esteem to be associated with better academic performance. In contrast, boredom proneness is associated with lower levels of self-control and self-esteem. Our analyses replicate those previous findings showing that self-control acts as a positive predictor of GPA. Importantly, we further demonstrated, for the first time, that boredom proneness has a unique contribution to GPA over and above the contribution of self-control, such that as boredom proneness increases, GPA decreases. We discuss potential mechanisms through which boredom proneness may influence academic performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Boredom in Health, Education and Sports)
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