New research shows link between politics, boredom and breaki
People who are more prone to boredom and who are socially conservative are more likely to break public-health rules, according to new psychology research.

"Many public-health measures such as wearing a mask or getting a vaccine have become highly politicized," said the professor. "People who find these measures a threat to their identity, and who suffer from boredom a lot, find breaking the rules helps them re-establish a sense of meaning and identity. Boredom threatens our need to make meaning out of life and some things such as politics can strengthen our sense of identity and meaning."

For the study, researchers asked more than 900 people to respond to questions about boredom, political ideology, and adhering to public-health measures such as wearing a mask or not socializing outside one's household.

As the pandemic continues, the work has implications for public health policy and communications. For instance, focusing on what people can do rather than what they are restricted from doing. Such messaging could help provide a more positive framework to help people ground their sense of identity and control.

"It can be difficult for some people to cope with boredom and that can have serious consequences for an individual and for society at large. Boredom is not a trivial experience—it's worth paying attention to it."

Motivation and Emotion