Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Santuzzi, Alecia M.

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Psychology




Boredom is an aversive internal state that increases task-irrelevant thinking, decreases task-directed concentration, and hinders task performance. Job seekers often struggle with boredom while completing job search tasks. Implementation intentions -- goal-directed action plans -- might prove an effective means of coping with boredom during task completion. Prior research has incorporated various forms of implementation intentions but has not yet examined which forms are most effective during the job search. Using a laboratory experiment, I randomly assigned 151 undergraduate student participants to one of four conditions: (1) a superordinate goal only, (2) an implementation intention to reduce distraction, (3) an implementation intention to re-direct attention, or (4) a combined implementation intention condition designed to reduce distraction and then re-direct attention. Participants determined whether a series of employment advertisements matched a provided list of general applicant qualifications, and completed measures of affect, distraction, commitment, boredom, sleep behaviors, and demographics. I hypothesized that boredom would negatively associate with task performance and positively associate with negative affect and distraction during task completion. I also predicted that participants with a combined implementation intention would identify advertisements more accurately, more quickly, and while experiencing less cognitive distraction than would participants with a distraction-inhibiting implementation intention, an attention-directing implementation intention, or only a superordinate goal. As predicted, boredom significantly negatively associated with task performance and significantly positively associated with post-task negative affect and distraction during task completion. The predicted effects of conditions for task performance and distraction did not find support. These findings provide important insights into the adaptive formation of implementation intentions specific to the job search, as well as for goal striving more generally. I discuss the theoretical and practical implications of these results, as well as promising opportunities for future research.


Advisors: Alecia M. Santuzzi; Amanda M. Durik.||Committee members: Larissa K. Barber.


97 pages




Northern Illinois University

Rights Statement

In Copyright

Rights Statement 2

NIU theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from Huskie Commons for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without the written permission of the authors.

Media Type