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Title: The phenomenon of boredom and its relationship to mindfulness
Author: Martin, Marion.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3620 1224
Awarding Body: University of Brighton
Current Institution: University of Brighton
Date of Award: 2007
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The phenomenon of boredom appears to be very prevalent in our society, and in particular is encountered by occupational therapists in their practice. A substantial body of literature both from the arts and the sciences indicates that boredom proneness is linked to emotional distress, and seems to be associated with a wide range of dysfunctional behaviour. Yet despite this boredom is poorly understood, and has no accepted definition. Little research has been carried out on the subject, and there is almost no indication of how this apparently problematic experience can be dealt with. From a pragmatic position, a study using mixed methods was conducted to investigate the nature of being bored. In the first stage an interpretive phenomenological design was employed with in-depth interviews to explore the antecedents to boredom, describe the experience including any stages, and to find out if and how people attempted to overcome boredom. Participants were 10 members from the general population. Findings indicated that boredom was experienced in a similar way by all, with feelings of restlessness, lethargy, dissatisfaction and inability to focus on any one activity. Antecedents and strategies varied, but no stages were identified. Following several phases of interpretation and analysis a hypothesis was unexpectedly generated. It seemed that lack of sustained attention might be the most important factor in producing boredom so the second stage was designed to test this theory. A correlation between two measures, the Boredom Proneness Scale and the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale, was carried out on a sample of 356 university students. There was a moderate significant correlation between the two scales (r= -0.440, p<0.01). Both stages of this study to some extent support the idea that boredom might be associated with attentional difficulty. It is more likely however that boredom is associated with a lack of mindfulness, as this concept includes attitudinal as well as cognitive factors. Mindfulness is an ability to be fully aware of the present moment, without judgement, whereas boredom appears to be a state of inattention to the present moment, accompanied by dissatisfaction. Further research is needed to investigate this possibility from both positivist and constructivist perspectives. If the two phenomena are at opposite ends of a continuum, it might be possible to overcome a propensity to boredom through learning how to be more mindful. Occupational Therapists could promote more mindful ways of doing.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available