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Journal article review: Leisure boredom and adolescent risk behaviour

Hilary WilliamsWegner L, Flisher A (2009) Leisure boredom and adolescent risk behaviour: a systematic literature review.  Journal of Child and Adolescent Mental Health -  reviewed by Hilary Williams, Lead Occupational Therapist – Research and Development, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust

‘Lisa Wegner (Department of Occupational Therapy) and her colleague, Alan Flisher (Adolescent Health Research Unit), from the University of Cape Town, have recently published a paper presenting the findings from a systematic review of the literature synthesising the current knowledge within the field of leisure boredom and risk behaviour within adolescents.   Their study addresses the following research questions:

  1. What evidence is there of leisure boredom amongst adolescents, and its association with risk behaviour?
  2. How is leisure boredom measured?
  3. What interventions have addressed leisure boredom amongst adolescents?

They confirmed that research in this field has only started to emerge and the majority of the studies investigating leisure boredom and risk behaviour have taken place within the developed, rather than the developing world.   The literature to date indicates that adolescents’ experience of leisure boredom is influenced by a variety of different factors, including the environment and the context in which they are situated.

They were able to locate three studies that measure leisure boredom specifically and two studies that report on interventions designed to address leisure boredom.  The authors note that studies so far are too heterogeneous with regards to both the methodologies adopted and the context in which they occurred to draw any conclusions with regards to this area of significant interest.

They acknowledge there are a number of limitations with this study, including the possibility of selection bias with regards to the papers considered and only those published in English were included.

The relevance of this paper is two fold:

  1. it provides an important summary of the work in the field of leisure boredom and risk behaviour in adolescents so far, but perhaps more crucially,
  2. it highlights the paucity of research into not only leisure boredom and adolescent risk behaviour, the psychometric properties of measurements of leisure boredom in this population and interventions to address this but into the phenomena of leisure boredom in general.’

If you would like to read this article, the full reference is: 
Wegner L, Flisher A (2009) Leisure boredom and adolescent risk behaviour: a systematic literature review.  Journal of Child and Adolescent Mental Health, 21(1): 1-28.