LONDON (AP) — Can you really be bored to death?
In a commentary to be published in the International Journal of Epidemiology in April, experts say there's a possibility that the more bored you are, the more likely you are to die early.
Annie Britton and Martin Shipley of University College London caution that boredom alone isn't likely to kill you — but it could be a symptom of other risky behavior like drinking, smoking, taking drugs or having a psychological problem.
The researchers analyzed questionnaires completed between 1985 and 1988 by more than 7,500 London civil servants ages 35 to 55. The civil servants were asked if they had felt bored at work during the previous month.
Britton and Shipley then tracked down how many of the participants had died by April 2009. Those who reported they had been very bored were two and a half times more likely to die of a heart problem than those who hadn't reported being bored.
But when the authors made a statistical adjustment for other potential risk factors, like physical activity levels and employment grade, the effect was reduced.
Other experts said while the research was preliminary, the link between boredom and increased heart problems was possible — if not direct.
"Someone who is bored may not be motivated to eat well, exercise, and have a heart-healthy lifestyle. That may make them more likely to have a cardiovascular event," said Dr. Christopher Cannon, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard University and spokesman for the American College of Cardiology.
He also said if people's boredom was ultimately linked to depression, it wouldn't be surprising if they were more susceptible to heart attacks; depression has long been recognized as a risk factor for heart disease. Cannon also said it was possible that when people are bored, dangerous hormones are released in the body that stress the heart.
Britton and Shipley said boredom was probably not in itself that deadly. "The state of boredom is almost certainly a proxy for other risk factors," they wrote. "It is likely that those who were bored were also in poor health."
Others said boredom was potentially as dangerous as stress.
"Boredom is not innocuous," said Sandi Mann, a senior lecturer in occupational psychology at the University of Central Lancashire who studies boredom.
She said boredom is linked to anger suppression, which can raise blood pressure and suppress the body's natural immunity. "People who are bored also tend to eat and drink more, and they're probably not eating carrots and celery sticks," she said.
Still, Mann said it was only people who were chronically bored who should be worried.
"Everybody is bored from time to time," she said.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.
Investigators say 54-year-old Peter Chadwick killed his wife back in 2012 and disappeared while he was free on bond in 2015. Now they're hoping a new reward and podcast series will help lead to his capture.
A judge in Pasadena on Wednesday dismissed 10 felony charges against a so-called "Dine-and-Dash Dater" who was accused of walking out on checks while on first dates with numerous women at Southland restaurants.
The City of Santee has formed a new committee to tackle issues stemming from highway 52. Residents say ever since the extension from the 125 to the 67 opened several years ago traffic in the city has gotten steadily worse.
A bill giving cities in San Diego County and the county itself the authority to establish a neighborhood electric vehicle transportation plan was signed into law Wednesday by Gov. Jerry Brown.
The 14th annual Mama's Pies Thanksgiving Bake Sale will run from Oct. 8 through Nov. 19 and include two dozen local bakers, it was announced Wednesday.
Six more women may be victims of sexual assault by a prominent orthopedic surgeon who was featured in a TV reality dating show, and his girlfriend, authorities said Wednesday.
A group of San Diego-based federal, state and local officials on Wednesday announced their support for Measure G, the SDSU West Initiative, and their opposition to Measure E, the SoccerCity initiative.
A San Diego couple says they are heartbroken after their family pet was attacked by another dog at a park in Allied Gardens over the weekend. The couple's dog is in critical condition and News 8 has learned this isn’t the first incident at the park involving the same dogs.
After a season-opening loss against Stanford, suddenly the San Diego State University Aztec football team could make it three wins in a row on Saturday night when they host Eastern Michigan. News 8's John Howard has a preview of the game from SDCCU Stadium.
Think for a moment about who your best friend is; now consider if you could open a nonprofit organization with that friend to help the world. What would it be?