Boredom proneness in a psychiatric inpatient population

Newell, Susan E., Harries, Priscilla and Ayers, Susan (2012) Boredom proneness in a psychiatric inpatient population. International Journal of Social Psychiatry, 58(5), pp. 488-495. ISSN (print) 0020-7640


BACKGROUND: Boredom has been reported as a common experience for service users of acute psychiatric wards. It has been associated with negative mental and physical health. Research has yet to show what factors are associated with boredom proneness within the acute psychiatric population. AIMS: (1) To investigate the distribution of boredom proneness in a population of mentally ill inpatients according to age, gender, diagnosis, Mental Health Act status and length of stay in hospital. (2) To test the hypothesis that boredom proneness is negatively correlated with autonomous activity levels. METHOD: Two self-report questionnaires were used with 55 inpatients of acute psychiatric wards: the Boredom Proneness Scale (Farmer & Sundberg, 1986) and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (Zigmond & Snaith, 1983). Questions were also asked about individuals' activity engagement during their current admission. Data on age, gender, diagnosis, ethnicity, Mental Health Act status and length of stay were collected from case notes. RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: The highest incidence of boredom proneness was in participants with depression. Those detained under the Mental Health Act appeared less boredom prone than those admitted voluntarily. Boredom proneness was not associated with age, gender or length of stay. There was an association between engagement in more autonomous activities and lower boredom proneness.

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