Boredom–Not So Boring: An Investigation of Trait Boredom’s Relationship With Impairment and Psychopathology in Children
Trait boredom—which represents the tendency to perceive life as boring and experience boredom frequently and/or intensely—is a robust predictor of functional impairment and psychopathology and particularly connected to Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). However, trait boredom has not been studied in children under the age of 10 years, who may be more vulnerable to experiencing episodes of boredom and have a high prevalence of ADHD. Moreover, initial evidence indicates that difficulties tolerating boredom may strengthen trait boredom’s associations with deleterious outcomes, although this has received limited attention. Thus, the goal of this investigation was to elucidate the relationships among trait boredom, boredom intolerance, functional impairment, and psychopathology in youth ages 6.0–9.9 years. Aim 1 focused on a community sample of school-age children and served as a natural first step in illuminating the putative role of boredom in adverse outcomes in this age range. Aim 2 focused on youth with clinically elevated ADHD symptoms and served to assess boredom’s clinical relevance in this population. The study involved collection of cross-sectional parent-report data through an online participant crowdsourcing platform. Findings showed that after controlling for demographic covariates, trait boredom positively predicted functional impairment, internalizing disorder symptoms, and disruptive behavior disorder symptoms in the community sample of youth. Further, those with clinically elevated ADHD symptoms had higher levels of trait boredom compared to those without, and trait boredom positively predicted functional impairment and psychiatric symptoms in youth with clinically elevated ADHD symptoms, even after controlling for demographic covariates and core symptoms of ADHD. Although boredom intolerance did not moderate trait boredom’s associations with impairment and psychopathology, it was positively correlated with many of the variables, independently and positively predicted functional impairment and psychiatric symptoms in several exploratory regression analyses, and was higher in those with clinically elevated ADHD symptoms compared to those without. Results from the present investigation suggest that trait boredom and boredom intolerance are associated with morbidity at a young age and should be considered in prevention and intervention efforts.
Clinical psychology|Developmental psychology|Psychology
Hirsch, Emily, "Boredom–Not So Boring: An Investigation of Trait Boredom’s Relationship With Impairment and Psychopathology in Children" (2023). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI30531447.