Some public officials have expressed concern that policies mandating collective public health behaviors (e.g., national/regional “lockdown”) may result in behavioral fatigue that ultimately renders such policies ineffective. Boredom, specifically, has been singled out as one potential risk factor for noncompliance. We examined whether there was empirical evidence to support this concern during the COVID-19 pandemic in a large cross-national sample of 63,336 community respondents from 116 countries. Although boredom was higher in countries with more COVID-19 cases and in countries that instituted more stringent lockdowns, such boredom did not predict longitudinal within-person decreases in social distancing behavior (or vice versa; n = 8,031) in early spring and summer of 2020. Overall, we found little evidence that changes in boredom predict individual public health behaviors (handwashing, staying home, self-quarantining, and avoiding crowds) over time, or that such behaviors had any reliable longitudinal effects on boredom itself.
|Early online date||13 Mar 2023|
|Publication status||E-pub ahead of print - 13 Mar 2023|
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2023, Emotion. All rights reserved
This research received support from the New York University Abu Dhabi (VCDSF/75-71015), the University of Groningen (Sustainable Society & Ubbo Emmius Fund), and the Instituto de Salud Carlos III (COV20/00086). The study was approved by the Ethics Committees of the University of Groningen (PSY-1920-S-0390) and New York University Abu Dhabi (HRPP-2020-42). Supplementary data and analyses can be found at: https://osf.io/h59dt/.
- Public Health
- Simpson’S Paradox