Defining Boredom Helps to Prevent Problem Gambling

Gambling can be a perfectly healthy hobby if you keep it under control - and can allow you to turn your loose change into a fortune, if you get lucky.

However, researchers at York University in Ontario, Canada, and the Universities of Guelph and Waterloo, are now working to help those people with less control over their appetite for gambling.

Problem gambling is just one tendency they are researching, alongside concerns that can cause more directly physical harm, such as drug use, binge drinking and overeating.

Their research stems from a fairly basic principle - understanding what makes people feel bored, and how different people try to overcome that feeling.

York University psychological scientist John Eastwood and his colleagues define boredom as "wanting, but being unable, to engage in satisfying activity", and say it develops from a difficulty to pay attention, an awareness of that lack of attention, and a belief that a non-stimulating environment is to blame.

By creating this clear definition of what 'boredom' really is, they hope they can drive studies into the area forwards, despite the fact that relatively little research has been carried out into boredom itself in the past.

And as their research progresses, the scientists may be able to identify ways to overcome boredom, ensuring that diet, drinking and gambling instincts can be kept in check.

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