The state of boredom: Frustrating or depressing?
Number of pages
SourceMotivation and Emotion, 42, 6, (2018), pp. 931-946
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI AO
Motivation and Emotion
SubjectWork, Health and Performance
Boredom is a prevalent emotion with potential negative consequences. Previous research has associated boredom with outcomes indicating both high and low levels of arousal and activation. In the present study we propose that the situational context is an important factor that may determine whether boredom relates to high versus low arousal/activation reactions. In a correlational (N = 443) and an experimental study (N = 120) we focused on the situational factor (perceived) task autonomy, and examined whether it explains when boredom is associated with high versus low arousal affective reactions (i.e., frustration versus depressed affect). Results of both studies indicate that when task autonomy is low, state boredom relates to more frustration than when task autonomy is high. In contrast, some support (i.e., Study 1 only) was found suggesting that when task autonomy is high, state boredom relates to more depressed affect than when task autonomy is low. These findings imply that careful attention is needed for tasks that are relatively boring. In order to reduce frustration caused by such tasks, substantial autonomy should be provided, while monitoring that this does not result in increased depressed affect.
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- Faculty of Social Sciences 
- Open Access publications 
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