Everyone knows that Phineas and Ferb cannot tolerate boredom: once they feel it, they fight back with interest in new things in each episode. According to research, they will probably experience more positive development and happier life than their sister! How is that?
Some investigators compared two groups of adolescents with several measures of psychological well-being: one experienced interest in everyday life experiences while another, widespread boredom.
First, they measured interest and boredom levels; global self-esteem; beliefs about personal causation, which can be internal (feeling one can control their destiny) or external (feeling one is victim of circumstances); and kinds of feelings one has towards future (related to optimism and pessimism).
Results show that chronic interested students had higher self-esteem, were more likely to believe they originate their actions, and felt more hopeful when envisioning the future. In contrast, bored students had lower self-esteem, external causation, felt less hopeful and projected negative emotions towards the future more strongly.
Researchers found strong association between the experience of interest and well-being but they still don’t know which is the cause and which is the effect, but a more interesting question for the future is: how adolescents acquire interest about daily life experiences? It appears that the social environment is important! Teenagers may not be able to build a beach on the garden as Ferb but researchers suggest that if society supports them enough with cultural resources, there will be generations of adolescents with higher quality of life and well-being!
Hunter, J. P., and Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2003). The Positive Psychology of Interested Adolescents. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 32(1). 27-35.