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Prevalence of Procrastination among Samples of Adults

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Explored the prevalence of avoidant, arousal, and decisional types of procrastination among 64 members of a public gathering, 54 professionals, 59 bank employees, and 34 university managers. At 4 public meetings, Ss (mean age 47.6 yrs) completed measures of demography and decisional, avoidant, and arousal procrastination. Results show that about 20% of the adult community population claimed to be chronic procrastinators, with the highest rates of all 3 procrastination types reported by members of the general public compared to other groups. Ss who were separated, divorced, or widowed reported higher rates of procrastination (independent of number of children) than Ss who were currently married or never married. Ss with high school education or less reported higher rates of decisional procrastination than Ss with college or postcollege educations. Occupational groups differed on decisional procrastination. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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... Can procrastination be a good thing? The answer to this question is probably 'no' based on an extensive body of literature that regards procrastination as a maladaptive and self-handicapping behavior that results from failed self-regulation (Lay, 1986;Tice & Baumeister, 1997) and often leads to deleterious consequences such as poorer task performance and reduced health/well-being (Harriott & Ferrari, 1996;Steel, 2007;Van Eerde, 2003). Counterbalancing the negative view that has dominated the literature, recent research asserts that procrastination also has adaptive aspects which could be associated with desirable work and life outcomes (e.g., Chowdhury & Pychyl, 2018;Chu & Choi, 2005;Corkin, Yu, & Lindt, 2011;Gendron, 2011;Habelrih & Hicks, 2015;Kim & Seo, 2013;Klassen, Krawchuk, Lynch, & Rajani, 2008;Schraw, Wadkins, & Olafson, 2007;Seo, 2013;Shin & Grant, 2021). ...
... The term procrastination started gaining its negative connotations (e.g., laziness, loafing, idleness, counterproductivity) only after the Industrial Revolution (especially the emergence of mass production) when there was an ever-increasing demand for workers who were able to complete assigned tasks on time (Ferrari et al., 1995;Milgram, 1992). On balance, psychological research on this topic has revealed that even though excessive, chronic procrastination is generally harmful (Harriott & Ferrari, 1996;Steel, 2007;Van Eerde, 2003), people could benefit from procrastinating on a task when more information and resources are needed (Strunk, Cho, Steele, & Bridges, 2013), when an incubation is helpful to resolving cognitive fixation (Shin & Grant, 2021;Sio & Rudowicz, 2007), and/or when the pressure imposed by a more proximal deadline helps increase work motivation and productivity (Corkin et al., 2011;Schraw et al., 2007;Strunk, Lane, & Mwavita, 2018; also see Steel & König, 2006 for the temporal motivation theory). ...
... First, all these studies examined AP in academic settings using convenience samples of undergraduate students, so that it remains untested whether AP in other contexts/samples would be based on the same personality factors. In fact, researchers have consistently found college students to be particularly prone to academic procrastination (both passively and actively) as compared to other groups of adults (e.g., the workforce or community samples) mainly because of their younger age and the more procrastination-friendly university environment (Harriott & Ferrari, 1996;Hicks & Storey, 2015;Schraw et al., 2007;Steel, 2007;. Unlike college students who have a lot of freedom and flexibility in their own time management, corporate employees rely more on job tasks/goals predefined by their organizations and are often under the influence of schedules and social norms in a team, which would restrain the opportunity for delaying assigned work (Nguyen, Steel, & Ferrari, 2013). ...
Article
What are active procrastinators like? Past research examining the Big Five personality predictors of active procrastination (AP) has found Extraversion and Emotional Stability to be predictive of such a behavioral characteristic. Yet, previous studies suffered from the fact that data were solely collected from undergraduates in academic settings using self-reports of personality. Attempting to extend the personality-AP associations among college students to working adults as well as to expand our knowledge on the personality profiles of active procrastinators according to both self- and other reports, the present study investigated the predictive effects of N = 173 full-time employees’ Big Five personality traits on their AP behaviors in the workplace via self- and supervisor-rated personality. Results revealed that Extraversion and Emotional Stability predicted AP across both rating sources and that in the supervisor-rating results only, the trait Agreeableness emerged as another (negative) predictor of AP. In light of recent developments with multimethod studies in the field of personality research, we discussed possible reasons for the current findings together with the study implications for research and practice related to AP at work.
... Procrastination often occurs with respect to important goals such as health (Sirois, 2004;Stead et al., 2010) and education (Schouwenburg et al., 2004). Procrastination also appears to be extremely widespread (Steel, 2007), with 15-25% of adults being chronically affected (Harriott & Ferrari, 1996; and, while there may be differences in rates of procrastination among different populations (e.g., Steel & Ferrari 2013), virtually everyone is guilty of it at least occasionally (see Steel 2007 andKlingsieck 2013 for reviews). This should come as no surprise: as Ainslie remarks, "it always feels better to defer costs" (2010: 12; cf. ...
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We tend to seek immediate gratification at the expense of long-term reward. In fact, the more distant a reward is from the present moment?the more we tend to discount it. This phenomenon is known as temporal discounting. Engaging in mental time travel plausibly enables subjects to overcome temporal discounting, but it is unclear how, exactly, it does so. In this paper, we develop a framework designed to explain the effects of mental time travel on temporal discounting by showing how the subject?s temporally extended self enables mental time travel to generate appropriate emotions that, in turn, via metacognitive monitoring and control, generate appropriate behaviours. Building on existing approaches we outline an initial framework, involving the concepts of emotion and the temporally extended self, to explain the effects of mental time travel on resisting temptation. We then show that this initial framework has difficulty explaining the effects of mental time travel on a closely related phenomenon, namely, overcoming procrastination. We next argue that, in order to explain these effects, the concept of emotion needs to be refined, and the concept of metacognition needs to be added to the framework: emotions involve an action-readiness component, which, through metacognitive monitoring and control, can enable the subject to resist temptation and overcome procrastination. Finally, we respond to an objection to our account?based on the somatic marker hypothesis?such that metacognition is not necessary to account for the role of emotions in decision-making.
... Schätzungen zufolge prokrastinieren ca. 20-30 % der Erwachsenen chronisch [8,9,13]. Für Studierende liegen die Prävalenzschätzungen in einer ähnlichen Größenordnung [5]. ...
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Zusammenfassung Hintergrund Es wird geschätzt, dass 20–30 % der Studierenden die Tendenz zeigen, wichtige Aufgaben im Studium aufzuschieben. Diese Tendenz wird im Prokrastination-Gesundheitsmodell mit einer Beeinträchtigung des psychischen Befindens, erhöhtem Stresserleben sowie einem gesundheitsschädigenden Verhalten in Verbindung gebracht. Fragestellung Analysiert wird, ob die vorab postulierten Annahmen des Prokrastination-Gesundheitsmodells sich auch empirisch in einer Stichprobe von Studierenden bestätigen lassen. Material und Methode Im Januar und Februar 2019 wurden 3420 Studierende der Freien Universität Berlin in einer Onlinebefragung zu Prokrastination, Ängstlichkeit und Depressivität, ihrem Schlafverhalten sowie ihrem Stresserleben befragt. Zur Prüfung der Annahmen des Prokrastination-Gesundheitsmodells wurde ein Strukturgleichungsmodell formuliert, dessen Ergebnisse hier berichtet werden. Ergebnisse Die zentralen Annahmen des Prokrastination-Gesundheitsmodells konnten bestätigt werden. Ein hohes Maß an Prokrastination wirkt direkt auf die Ängstlichkeit und Depressivität und wirkt indirekt, sowohl über das Stresserleben als auch über die herabgesetzte Schlafqualität, auf das Befinden (Ängstlichkeit/Depressivität). Schlussfolgerungen Es erweist sich als sinnvoll, neben einer direkten gesundheitsbeeinträchtigenden Wirkung von Prokrastination auch die Auswirkungen vermittelt über das Stresserleben und das gesundheitsbezogene Verhalten in den Blick zu nehmen. Diese Ergebnisse müssen allerdings noch im Längsschnitt bestätigt werden.
... Se ha estimado que entre el 14 y 20% de la población adulta general son procrastinadores habituales (Ferrari et al., 2007(Ferrari et al., , 2009Harriott y Ferrari, 1996). Nótese que la mayoría de los procrastinadores conciben la procrastinación como negativa y dañina, y están motivados para reducirla (Steel, 2007). ...
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Procrastination has been defined as an irrational delay in behavior associated with multiple negative consequences, among which the incidence in mental health is prominent. Given the importance of detecting irrational procrastination, this research proposed to adapt and study some psychometric properties of the IPS (Irrational Procrastination Scale) in the Mexican population. The 9-item IPS scale was applied to 960 university students between 18 and 56 years old (M= 21.31, SD= 3.77), with a majority of women (n= 566, 59.0%). The final version of seven items obtained a Cronbach's alpha of 0.803. Through an exploratory factor analysis with half of the sample, it was observed that the scale is unifactorial, explaining 46.07% of the variance. This was corroborated with the other half and by confirmatory factor analysis. It is concluded that IPS is a short and reliable instrument to detect irrational procrastination which can be an effective screening tool for the Mexican population. Resumen La procrastinación ha sido concebida como un retraso irracional del comportamiento asociado a múltiples consecuencias negativas, en las que destaca la incidencia en la salud mental. Debido a la importancia de detectar la procrastinación irracional, este estudio se propuso adaptar y estudiar algunas propiedades psicométricas de la "Escala de procrastinación irracional" (IPS por sus siglas en inglés) en población mexicana. La IPS de 9 ítems se aplicó a 960 estudiantes universitarios de entre 18 y 56 años (M= 21,31; DT= 3,77), la mayoría mujeres (n= 566; 59,0%). La versión final de siete ítems obtuvo un alfa de Cronbach de 0,803 y se observó a través de un análisis factorial exploratorio con la mitad de la muestra que la escala es unifactorial, explicando el 46,07% de la varianza. Lo cual se corroboró con la otra mitad y mediante un análisis factorial confirmatorio. Se concluye que la IPS es un instrumento breve y fiable para detectar la procrastinación irracional, la cual puede ser una herramienta de cribado de gran utilidad en población mexicana.
... Today, more than two thousand years later, we are still in the process of understanding the phenomenon. Approximately 15-20% of the total adult population suffers from chronic procrastination (Harriott and Ferrari, 1996;Ferrari et al., 2007;Steel, 2007), and over 95% wishes to minimize their procrastination behavior (O'Brien, 2002). Among student populations, the prevalence is even higher. ...
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Procrastination remains an omnipresent phenomenon impeding especially students' academic performance and well-being. Preliminary findings suggest that procrastination emerges due to dysfunctional emotion regulation efforts to regulate aversive emotions. This study's objective was to clarify whether the enhancement of general adaptive emotion regulation skills reduces subsequent procrastination. For the purpose of this study, data from a two-armed randomized controlled trial (RCT) with (N = 148) university students, comprising an active intervention (IG) and a passive wait-list control (WLC) group, was collected. Participants of the intervention group were provided with an online emotion regulation training over a period of 9 weeks. The results showed that the enhancement of general emotion regulation skills significantly reduced subsequent procrastination behavior within the IG as compared to the untreated WLC. Moreover, subsequent mediation analyses revealed that the reduction of procrastination was significantly mediated by the increase in general ER skills. The present results suggest that trainings which enhance general ER skills are an appropriate measure to reduce procrastination behavior among university students. The practical value of ER training interventions, particularly for student populations, is discussed.
... In fact, academic procrastination, the tendency to postpone an academically-related action or decision such as reading chapters of texts, completing writing assignments, registering for classes, and meeting assignment deadlines (Ferrari, 2010;Ferrari et al., 1995), is a common avoidant strategy for students. Despite its negative effects on student performance, a significant amount of research in literature has demonstrated that in academic settings, it is highly widespread (Harriot & Ferrari, 1996), estimated approximately as 70-75% of students (Ferrari, 2010;Ferrari & Tibbett, 2017). It was found that conducting academic procrastination allows students to experience a short-term relief yet results in negative consequences that can be damaging in the long run, such as illness and stress (Tice & Baumeister, 1997). ...
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A path analytic model assessed the relationship between academic procrastination and life satisfaction, such that family environment mediated effects with emerging adults (221 women, 101 men; Mage = 20.7 years old, SD = 1.7). Participants completed procrastination, family environment, and life satisfaction scales. Results showed that after trimming a path, the hypothesized model fit the data, such that life satisfaction negatively predicted academic procrastination tendencies. Findings validated that both family cohesion and family control within family environment had partial mediation effects on the association between life satisfaction and academic procrastination. Implications for parents and educators are discussed.
... It is common to see people postponing day-to-day activities for no compelling reasons, for instance, postponing answering an email, doing a household task, or even paying bills. Such delays are not uncommon in the general population (15-20%; Harriott & Ferrari, 1996) and are known as procrastination. This variable is defined as a pattern of behavior that involves frequent delays in starting and/or completing tasks until the deadline (McCloskey, 2011). ...
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Academic procrastination has a significant influence on students’ lives, being related to several relevant variables, such as lower self-esteem, higher levels of academic anxiety, and fear of failure. The development and adaptation of reliable instruments help to assure a more in-depth study of academic procrastination. The present research aimed to adapt and assess evidence of validity and reliability of the scores of the Academic Procrastination Scale (APS) for a Brazilian sample (N = 1241). In Study 1, an exploratory factor analysis supported the unidimensional structure of the APS (25 items). In Study 2, the one-factor structure had an adequate model fit via confirmatory factor analysis. Also, through item response theory, the APS items showed adequate discrimination, difficulty, and level of information. The scores of the APS were also significantly correlated with the scores of the Tuckman Procrastination Scale, providing evidence of convergent validity.
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Objective: To explore the relation between procrastination and physical activity in college students and test whether grit mediated, age and gender moderated the process. Participants: 610 college students (aged 20.07 ± 1.53; 45.2% males) in Shanghai. Methods: Procrastination, grit and physical activity were tested respectively by International Procrastination Scale, Grit-S scale and International Physical Activity Questionnaire. Results: Correlation analysis showed that procrastination, grit and physical activity were related in pairs. Procrastination was negatively correlated with physical activity. Grit mediated between procrastination and physical activity. Females showed stronger moderation effect from grit to physical activity than males, while the effect between procrastination and grit was more significant for the younger. Conclusion: The moderated mediating model provided a new strategy of improving personality traits which contributed to lack of physical activity. More psychologically relevant measures should be taken in reducing procrastination to improve physical activity via improving grit.
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Procrastination refers to voluntarily postponing an intended course of action despite expecting to be worse off for this delay, and students are considered to be especially negatively affected. According to estimates in the literature, at least half of the students believe procrastination impacts their academic achievements and well-being. As of yet, evidence-based ideas on how to differentiate severe from less severe cases of procrastination in this population do not exist, but are important in order to identify those students in need of support. The current study recruited participants from different universities in Sweden to participate in an anonymous online survey investigating self-rated levels of procrastination, impulsivity, perfectionism, anxiety, depression, stress, and quality of life. Furthermore, diagnostic criteria for pathological delay (PDC) as well as self-report items and open-ended questions were used to determine the severity of their procrastination and its associated physical and psychological issues. In total, 732 participants completed the survey. A median-split on the Pure Procrastination Scale (PPS) and the responses to the PDC were used to differentiate two groups; “less severe procrastination” (PPS ≤ 2.99; n = 344; 67.7% female; M age = 30.03; SD age = 9.35), and “severe procrastination” (PPS ≥ 3.00; n = 388; 66.2% female; M age = 27.76; SD age = 7.08). For participants in the severe group, 96–97% considered procrastination to a problem, compared to 42–48% in the less severe group. The two groups also differed with regard to considering seeking help for procrastination, 35–38% compared to 5–7%. Participants in the severe group also reported more problems of procrastination in different life domains, greater symptoms of psychological issues, and lower quality of life. A thematic analysis of the responses on what physical issues were related to procrastination revealed that these were characterized by stress and anxiety, e.g., tension, pain, and sleep and rest, while the psychological issues were related to stress and anxiety, but also depression, e.g., self-criticism, remorse, and self-esteem. The current study recommends the PPS to be used as an initial screening tool, while the PDC can more accurately determine the severity level of procrastination for a specific individual.
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The present study examined 240 mall shoppers' procrastination scores (on arousal and avoidance measures), the closeness of the measurement to Christmas, and shoppers' rationales for why they were shopping at that particular time. Inventory scores were higher among shoppers on Christmas eve than 5 weeks earlier, and correlated positively with length of time to redeem mall gift certificates issued for participation. Further, people who scored high compared to low on the measures of procrastination cited different reasons for their shopping times, across measures. Procrastinators motivated by arousal from working against a deadline attributed their lack of diligence to job-related attributes (e.g. work, business commitments) that compelled them to begin shopping at the last possible opportunity. Procrastinators motivated to avoid situations involving threats to self-esteem attributed their postponed shopping to personal attributes (e.g. lack of energy, indecisiveness, perceived task aversiveness) reflecting their belief about their own inabilities. Results suggest that some procrastinators use situational attributes while others claim personal shortcomings for waiting to complete a “real-world” task at or before deadline.
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Late adolescent females (N = 86; M age = 19.1 years) completed reliable and valid self-report measures on their perception of both parents' authority style (authoritarian, authoritative, permissive) and their own tendency toward decisional procrastination. Households where daughters perceived both parents as high authoritarian (n = 32) were significantly more likely to raise daughters with strong indecision tendencies than were parents perceived as low authoritarian (n = 23). Mothers and fathers perceived as high (n = 22) or low (n = 22) authoritative, and high (n = 32) or low (n = 24) permissive, did not produce significant differences in daughters' self-reported decisional procrastination. Results suggest that parental authority characterized by stern inflexibility and overcontrol has the greatest influence on daughters who develop chronic indecision tendencies.
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This paper considered three studies designed to examine procrastinatory behavior. In Study I, a general form (G) of a true-false procrastination scale was created. This form was based on an earlier version of the scale containing parallel forms A and B. Procrastination was positively related to measures of disorganization and independent of need-achievement, energy level, and self-esteem. High scorers on the procrastination scale were more likely to return their completed inventory late. Procrastination was unrelated to grade-point average (R = −10). In Study II, subjects completed Form G of the procrastination scale and a variation of Little's (1983) Personal Projects Questionnaire. Based on ratings of their personal projects, procrastinators and nonprocrastinators were distinguished in a number of ways, foremost being the nonprocrastinator's more positive response to the project dimension of stress and the procrastinator's greater sensitivity to how enjoyable the project was in terms of time spent. In Study III, after completing a personality inventory, air-passengers awaiting their flight departure were asked to take an envelope with them and to mail it back on a designated date. Procrastinators were less accurate in doing so than were nonprocrastinators. Various aspects of procrastinatory behavior were discussed, including a reconsideration of the defining of the construct.
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