The map of cognitive processes in boredom: multiple mediation models

Behav Cogn Psychother. 2020 Dec 16;1-13. doi: 10.1017/S1352465820000867. Online ahead of print.


Background: Trait boredom is associated with several internalizing and externalizing problems. Addressing existing research gaps in the field, the present study investigated the map of cognitive processes for boredom, based on the rational emotive behaviour therapy model (REBT).

Aims: The general aim of the study was to investigate the organization of irrational and rational evaluative cognitions related to boredom, and the association between boredom and depression symptoms and state/trait anxiety.

Methods: The 233 participants (84% women) completed online scales of evaluative cognitions, trait boredom, trait/state anxiety and depression. Multiple mediation models via the SPSS extension PROCESS were employed.

Results: The REBT psychopathology and psychological health models were partially confirmed, as the evaluative primary cognitions predicted positively and significantly the secondary ones in both cases. Low frustration tolerance (LFT) and global evaluations (GE), and frustration tolerance (FT), respectively, had significant effects. We found a positive significant association between boredom proneness and the negative dysfunctional emotions investigated.

Conclusions: Both results offer further support for the hierarchy of cognitions and the distinction between the level of irrationality and rationality in REBT. This is the first attempt to assess a cognitive map of boredom, underlining the importance of (L)FT in relation to boredom. The significance of GE in boredom suggests that people might see themselves responsible, or even blame themselves, others or life itself while bored. The associations of boredom with anxiety and depression are relevant, as its role in those contexts is not yet fully understood.

Keywords: REBT; anxiety; boredom; cognitive map; depression.