The Effect of Frustration and Boredom on Self-Harming Behaviour

  • Nina Weingarten
  • Stephanie Römer
  • Sally Klein
  • Katja Marszalek
  • Iris van der Meer
  • Maurits Nijensteen
  • Sofia Rivera Manga
  • Samantha Stranc
Keywords: Boredom, Self-harming Behaviour, Frustration, Electrical Stimulation, Non-Suicidal Self-Injury (NSSI)


Despite the increasing attention on self-harming behaviour, research lacks evidence-based understanding of factors that can influence or cause this phenomenon. This study focuses on the influence of boredom and frustration on self-harming behaviour. This was done by measuring the amount and intensity of self-administered electrical stimulation amongst 63 undergraduate psychology students. Frustration was manipulated with an unsolvable computer task and boredom with a movie. Participants in the frustration condition were expected to harm themselves more intensely, whereas participants in the boring condition were expected to harm themselves more frequently. For the induced boredom, there was an effect on the frequency of self-harming behaviour. However, the frustration manipulation demonstrated no effect on either intensity or frequency of self-harming behaviour by the participants. We argue that the effects of the induced frustration did not last long enough to have an effect on the later self-harming.