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More Time to Procrastinators: The Role of Time Perspective

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Abstract

One negative consequence related to poor future planned behaviour is chronic procrastination, the purposive and frequent delay in beginning or completing a task to the point of experiencing subjective discomfort. Although shown to be associated to affective, behavioral, and cognitive characteristics reflecting more than inefficient time management, the concept of procrastination remains closely related to meeting deadlines within a specific timeframe. Procrastination can be considered as a consequence of temporal self-regulation failure that reflects a disjunction between past, present and future time perspectives. Despite the obvious importance of time to procrastination, little research has examined this important relationship although the temporal component seems to be a key defining concept of procrastination. But, what do we know about this complex tendency? What is the relationship between procrastination and time perspective? In this chapter the principal characteristics notes of procrastination (concept and definition, measure and some correlates) and the results of recent research related to procrastination and time perspective were presented.
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M. Stolarski et al. (eds.), Time Perspective Theory, Review, Research and Application:
Essays in Honor of Philip G. Zimbardo, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-07368-2_20,
© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015
People in Western cultures adopt “usually” long-term educational, financial, and
health goals, engaging in planned activities and, in general, that are future oriented
(Schmuck and Sheldon 2001). These activities are related to many positive conse-
quences, such as higher socio-economic status, superior academic achievement,
less sensation seeking, and fewer health risk behaviour (Zimbardo and Boyd 1999).
On the contrary, the lack of engagement in planned or future oriented behaviours is
associated with negative consequences. Most likely, one negative consequence
related to poor future planned behaviour is chronic procrastination, the purposive
and frequent delay in beginning or completing a task to the point of experiencing
subjective discomfort (Ferrari et al. 1995). People who procrastinate do not work
on-task and as a result, “feel bad” (anxiety, regret) from their delaying tactics.
Procrastination may include substantial impairment in personal, academic, and
occupational functioning (Ferrari 2010). People who are procrastinators are often
viewed (even by other procrastinators) as bad, harmful or foolish in nature (Ferrari
and Patel 2004; Ferrari and Pychyl 2012; Van Eerde 2003). Research has shown that
procrastination can result in poor academic performance, experiencing negative
emotions such as shame and guilt about oneself, depression, and negative health
behaviors, such as delaying seeking care for health problems (Steel 2007; Sirois
et al. 2003).
Procrastination is also typically viewed as being volitional; that is, it involves
the voluntary choice of one behavior or task over other competing options, and,
second, although the concept of procrastination remains closely related to meeting
More Time to Procrastinators: The Role
of Time Perspective
Juan Francisco Díaz-Morales and Joseph R. Ferrari
J.F. Díaz-Morales (*)
Individual Differences and Work Department, Faculty of Psychology,
Complutense University of Madrid, Madrid, Spain
e-mail: juanfcodiaz@psi.ucm.es
J.R. Ferrari
DePaul University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA
e-mail: jferrari@depaul.edu
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deadlines within a specific timeframe, studies have also demonstrated that chronic
procrastination is related to a number of affective, behavioral, and cognitive charac-
teristics reflecting more than inefficient time management (Ferrari and Pychyl
2000).
Although procrastination, or putting off until tomorrow what one should do
today, is a phenomenon well-known for thousands of years, it is only recently that
systematic research was conducted with respect to its manifestations, causes, con-
sequences, and cures (Schouwenburg et al. 2004). The first scientific studies date
only from the mid 1980s (Lay 1986), and the first scholarly book summarizing
research results in the area dates to 1995 (Ferrari et al. 1995). Next, three relevant
contributions were realized: one special issue in the Journal of Social Behavior and
Personality (Ferrari and Pychyl 2000), a book about academic procrastination
(Schouwenburg et al. 2004), and the recent Ferrari’s book (Ferrari 2010), which
reviewed for popular use more than 25 years of research about the causes, conse-
quences and cures on this topic.
Procrastination typically is defined as a voluntary delay of an individual’s
intended action toward some task despite foreseeable negative consequences and a
potentially overall worse outcome (Ferrari 2010). But, what do we know about this
complex tendency? What is the relationship between procrastination and time per-
spective? In this chapter we present the principal characteristics notes of procrasti-
nation (concept and definition, measure and some correlates) and the results of
recent research related to procrastination and Time Perspective (TP).
The Nature of Procrastination
The term procrastination come from the Latin procrastinates, which literally means
“forward tomorrow” and it has been defined as purposively delaying an intended
course of action to the point of experiencing subjective discomfort (Ferrari et al.
1995). Definitions of procrastination have included similar items: time delay and
discomfort or wrong with this behavior. For instance, Solomon and Rothblum
(1984) suggested that because definitions of procrastination stress both behavioral
delay and psychological distress, the degree of procrastination and the degree to
which it presents a problem should be considered together. From this point of view,
procrastination has been defined as an irrational tendency to delay tasks that should
be completed (Lay 1986), as the unnecessary delaying of activities that one ulti-
mately intends to complete, especially when done to the point of creating emotional
discomfort (Lay and Schouwenburg 1993). Schouwenburg et al. (2004) suggested
that procrastination referred to as postponing of tasks is inferred from the behavioral
manifestations including lack of promptness either in intention or behavior, whereas
Steel (2007) consider procrastination as “voluntarily delay an intended course of
action despite expecting to be worse off for the delay”.
One cognitive process related to the voluntary delay of start/completing tasks or
the poor realization of action–intention program has been indecision, or decisional
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procrastination. Indecision may drive chronic behavioral procrastinators to create
excuses to justify why they do not focus on a target behavior. If you are a procrasti-
nator, the delay seems logical and justifiable; however from an external point of
view is irrational and can damage other people’s perception of you (Ferrari 2010).
According to the theory of planned behavior (Ajzen 1991) attitudes are not strong
predictors of what people doing, but they predict intention. Subsequently, behav-
ioral intention is the best predictor of behavior, a much better predictor of an action
that simply one’s attitude is. Lay (1986) claimed that procrastination is a function of
the behavioral intention-behavior gap: procrastinators fail to move forward with
their intentions. When people fail to “mind the gap” and not realize their goals, they
could made different logical raisons such as excuses or regrets and also self- sabotage
actions or rebellions against others (Ferrari 1991a, 2010; Ferrari and Pychyl 2000).
Obviously, individuals who see themselves as procrastinators often wish to
reduce it by setting realistic goals and deadlines in order to complete tasks in a rea-
sonable time frame, which always is underestimated (Ariely and Wertenbroch
2002). Non-procrastinators, in contrast, are individuals who perform most tasks in
a timely manner. Studies indicated that chronic procrastination is related to a variety
of personality variables, including low states of self-confidence and self-esteem
(Ferrari and Díaz-Morales 2007b) and high states of depression, neurosis, self-
awareness, social anxiety, forgetfulness, disorganization, non-competitiveness, dys-
functional impulsivity, behavioral rigidity, and lack of energy (Burka and Yuen
1983; Ferrari et al. 1995; Ferrari and Pychyl 2000). Procrastination has been linked
to two main personality traits, high neuroticism and low conscientiousness, specifi-
cally low self-discipline (Schouwenburg and Lay 1995). Also, procrastination has
been characterized by a personality style profile of inaction and accommodation to
circumstances created by others (motivational aims), avoidance tangible and con-
crete information and preference by symbolic and unknown ideas (cognitive style),
and unconventional/dissenting and seeking social stimulation (behavioral disposi-
tion) (Díaz-Morales et al. 2008a).
Usually, people procrastinate as a way to avoid certain outcomes and situations
(Haghbin et al. 2009). Also, procrastinators say that they procrastinate because it
gives them a “thrill,” thinking that waiting until the last minute might seem adaptive
and functional, although research has showed that they are wrong in their belief that
they work best under pressure (Ferrari 2001). Recent research, however, proposed
that the positive thrill experience reported by some procrastinators for waiting actu-
ally may be state anxiety mislabeled to avoid confronting the delay (Simpson and
Pychyl 2009). Placing procrastination among related concepts, Schouwenburg et al.
(2004) considered procrastination as a concept clustering of related traits: trait pro-
crastination, weak impulse control, lack of persistence, lack of work discipline, lack
of time management skill, and the inability to work methodically (see also Díaz-
Morales et al. 2006a).
Procrastination, therefore, appears as a complex phenomenon integrates cogni-
tive, emotional and behavioral aspects, plus the temporal component that indicated
the deadline to do the task (Ferrari 2010; Ferrari et al. 1995). Steel (2007) argued
that procrastination is reflected in the equation E × V/ГD, where E = expectancy or
[AU1]
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likelihood of an outcome occurring, V = value or desirability of an outcome,
Г = sensitivity to time delays, and D = the time until a rewarding stimulus becomes
available. According to this function, a pattern of temporal discounting characterizes
procrastination, wherein the value of distant, large rewards is downplayed relative
to more immediately available, smaller rewards. Using this conceptualization is
suggested that procrastinators are less future oriented and more oriented to present.
We return to this issue and discuss this idea later in this chapter.
Prevalence of Procrastination
Research over the past 25 years has shown that procrastination is a common prob-
lem in the general population and reflective of a maladaptive style to life. Everyone
procrastinates, but not everyone is a procrastinator. This sentence, included as
headline inside the Ferrari’s book, reflects the difference between delaying an
action, something that all people realize in some occasion, and postponing the task
which must be done (see Ferrari 2010). If one delays to gather more information or
postpones a decision because he or she needs to do something important before the
target act, then theses strategies are not procrastination.
Procrastination affects virtually everyone to some degree. It involves knowing
that a task must be performed, yet intentionally failing to motivate oneself to carry
out the task within the desired time frame (Ackerman and Gross 2005). When pro-
crastination is a chronic behavior, becomes a maladaptive lifestyle. As many as
20–25 % of normal, healthy adult men and women, were classified as chronic pro-
crastinators, individuals who engage in a needless delay of relevant and timely
tasks across situations and settings. One series of trans-cultural studies showed that
in Australia, Peru, Spain, United Kingdom (UK), United States (US) and Venezuela,
the prevalence of chronic procrastinators is around 15–20 % of people (Ferrari et al.
2004, 2007; Harriott and Ferrari 1996). Although the tendency toward delaying the
start of completing of tasks is common among adults living in six countries, consis-
tent with previous literature reviews (Van Eerde 2003), large and significant country
effects emerged between countries when raw procrastination scores was examined:
UK reported significantly higher chronic procrastination compared to adults from
Peru, US, Spain, and Australia with the lowest reported tendencies among adults
from Venezuela.
In general, studies showed that prevalence of procrastination is similar to men and
women. Most studies found no significant difference by sex, although Van Eerde’s
(2003) meta-analysis stated that tendency to procrastinate was more common among
the male than female participants. However, sex/gender variables hasn’t been consi-
dered until recently and it would be interesting to research how everyday or quotidian
tasks associate to one of the two genders are related to procrastination (Özer et al.
2009). Regarding occupation, white-collar workers and professional employees
tend to demonstrate higher levels of procrastination than blue-collar workers and
unskilled employees (Díaz-Morales et al. 2006b; Hammer and Ferrari 2002).
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Finally, regarding age, some studies showed a significant negative correlation
between procrastination and age among adults (Ferrari et al. 2005; Hammer and
Ferrari 2002), indicating that procrastination moderately decreases with age
(i.e. r = −0.27, Díaz-Morales et al. 2008a; r = −0.19, Gupta et al. 2012). No diffe-
rence has been found related to level of studies. It is important consider the age of
samples includes in procrastination studies, because usually procrastination has
been frequently studied among undergraduates and scarcely studied among adults
(Díaz-Morales et al. 2006a).
Also, people may procrastinate in one life area, but not in other areas. An exam-
ple of situational procrastination is academic procrastination. It is different from
chronic or everyday procrastination. Academic procrastination among students is
defined as the delay in studying or completing academic assignments (Solomon and
Rothblum 1984). It has been estimated that procrastination is prevalent in about
70 % of college students on academic tasks such as studying, registering form
classes, completing reading assignments, or keeping appointments with professors.
In-depth analysis of academic procrastination may be found in other sources (see
Ferrari 2010; Schowenburg et al. 2004).
Measure of Procrastination
During the 1990s of past siècle, several experimental or quasi-experimental studies
were realized in real situations (see Ferrari et al. 1995). For example, in the work-
place, employees were confronted with tasks in which they are either likely to fail
(Lay 1990; Van Eerde 2003) or tasks that have open-ended deadlines (Ferrari 1992).
Among students a common behavioral index of procrastination was the time of
submitted course assignments relative to assignment due dates. Students who scored
higher on procrastination were more likely to postpone submission of assignments
than were students who scored lower on procrastination scale (Digdon and Howell
2008).
At present, several reliable and valid measures of chronic procrastination have
been identified (see Ferrari et al. 1995, for actual items and psychometric properties
of most chronic and academic self-report procrastination measures). Among adults
the most frequently used scales has been the General Procrastination scale (GP;
Lay 1986), the Adult Inventory of Procrastination (AIP; McCown et al. 1989), or
the Decisional Procrastination scale (DP; Mann 1982). Among students, frequently
used has been the Procrastination Assessment Scale -Student (PASS; Solomon and
Rothblum 1984), the Aitken Procrastination Inventory (API; Aitken 1982), and the
Tuckman Procrastination Scale (TPS; Tuckman 1991).
Procrastination scales by adults have been validated in different cultural contexts
(Ferrari et al. 1995, 2009; Díaz-Morales et al. 2006a; Mariani and Ferrari 2012).
Lay’s General Procrastination scale (GP, Lay 1986) measure dilatory behavior
across different situations related to personality variables such as low self-control,
rebelliousness, and extraversion. It is composed by 20 items such as “I am continually
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saying I’ll do it tomorrow” and “When preparing to go out, I am seldom caught
doing something at the last minute”. The GP scores on this scale have been related
to external attributes or excuses for delays (Ferrari 1993) and poor performance
when environmental stressors existed that heightened arousal at task deadlines
(Ferrari 2001). Researchers typically found the scale to have a single factor struc-
ture (Ferrari et al. 2005; Díaz-Morales et al. 2006a), although in Italian sample two
factors has been identified (Mariani and Ferrari 2012). The Adult Inventory of
Procrastination (AIP; McCown et al. 1989) measures chronic tendency to postpone
tasks in various situations. It examines procrastination motivated by fears (e.g., suc-
cess or failure), avoidance of disclosure of skill inabilities, and insecurities of per-
formance (Ferrari 1991b). The AIP is composed of 15 items such as “I am not very
good at meeting deadlines” and “I don’t get things done on time”. It is a global
measure of frequent procrastination examining a variety of tasks in order to deflect
potential disclosure of perceived inabilities and incompetence (Ferrari 1993) and
self-relevant information about one’s skills and competence (Ferrari 1991b). Two
factors were extracted from a Spanish sample of adults, labeled lack of punctuality
and lack of planning (Díaz-Morales et al. 2006a), and among Turkish adult sample
named positive aspects of avoidance and negative aspects of avoidance (Ferrari
et al. 2009), whereas among Italian adult samples the AIP was considered as one-
dimensional (Mariani and Ferrari 2012).
Whereas GP and AIP scales were developed to assess the frequency with which
people postpone performing everyday behavioural tasks or activities, a more cogni-
tive measure of procrastination (indecision) is evaluate by Decisional Procrastination
Scale (DP, Mann 1982), described as the purposive delay in making decisions within
some specific time frame (Effert and Ferrari 1989). It is a reliable and valid measure
composes by five items such as “I delay making decisions until it is too late” or “I
put off making decisions”.
Procrastination has been viewed both as a single trait dimension and as a com-
plex trait composed of several component antecedents (Ferrari et al. 1995; Ferrari
and Pychyl 2000). In this way, procrastination started to be analyzed from a multi-
dimensional point of view. The logic was to analyze what is the dimensionality of
more frequently procrastination scales. When factorial structure of the three com-
bined scales was realized among Spanish adults by first time, four reliable compo-
nents were identified (Díaz-Morales et al. 2006a). They may reflect four essential
elements of trait procrastination that are conceptuality-relevant: dilatory behaviors,
a summary of the predisposition to manifest intention behavior gaps; indecision,
putting off making a decision within some specific time frame; lack of punctuality,
such as an inability to work diligently on a task to meet its deadline; and lack of
planning, a lack of self-discipline to stay focused on a target task. The principal
component, dilatory behaviors, configures the most “pure” component of procrasti-
nation because give count of the shared variance of the three scales of procrastina-
tion (Díaz-Morales et al. 2006a).
Subsequently, Steel (2010) replicated a similar psychometric study with these
three scales among English speakers and found three similar factors: general pro-
crastination, rushing and appointment keeping, and promptness and doing tasks
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immediately. Finally, Mariani and Ferrari (2012) tested different structure models
using the same scales of procrastination. Not surprisingly, many different measures
have been proposed to measures this needless and irrational delay, but from the
beginning of research on procrastination, only recently the dimensionality of these
scales has become to be analyzed.
Procrastination and Psychological Time
Time perspective (TP), an individuals’ understanding of one’s psychological past,
present, and future, may be fundamental to understand human behaviour. The cog-
nitive abilities to “travel through time” using one’s memory to move into the past or
the imagination for the future may be considered to be a uniquely human capability
(Sunddendorf and Corballis 1997). Past research has related either past, present or
future orientations to psychological constructs such as well-being, optimism, con-
trollability, self-direction or achievement motivation, and their effects to selected
outcome behaviours (Zaleski 1994). The conceptualisation of how the perspective
of future influences the self-regulation of behaviour has been stated from different
theoretical approaches such as future possible selves (Markus and Nurius 1986),
consideration of future consequences (Strathman et al. 1994), and anxiety of future
(Zaleski 1996).
Time is constant: it does not fly! There are 24 h in a day, every day for 365 days
a year. Time moves constantly. We can’t simply say, “time fly”, we must fly with it
to take in all of the gusto and joy that life has to offer (Ferrari 2010). This implies,
for example, that employees who organize their time in an effective manner will be
perceived to be of greater value by employers, by virtue of the fact that they make a
greater contribution to organizational efficiency. Procrastinators, in contrast, lead to
increased employer costs by taking more time than necessary to complete requisite
tasks. Deadlines play an important role in determining schedules for completing
tasks and in guiding and focusing plans for action.
Although shown to be associated to affective, behavioral, and cognitive charac-
teristics reflecting more than inefficient time management (Ferrari et al. 1995;
Ferrari and Pychyl 2000), the concept of procrastination remains closely related to
meeting deadlines within a specific timeframe. The existence of the approaching
deadline may be, in itself, an important factor. However, procrastination is a
cognitive- behavioral problem that is complex and has many intertwined roots. It is
not merely a problem of time management.
Despite the obvious importance of time to procrastination, little research has
examined this important relationship although the temporal component seems to
be a key defining concept of procrastination. For instance, research indicated
that chronic procrastinators compared to non-procrastinators spend less prepara-
tion time on tasks that were likely to succeeded and more time on projects likely
to fail (Lay 1990; Lay et al. 1989), tended to underestimate the overall time
required to complete a task (McCown et al. 1987), spend less time searching for
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information needed to complete tasks (Ferrari and Dovidio 2000), started aca-
demics task (e.g. studying for exams) at the last minute (Lay and Burns 1991;
Pychyl et al. 2000a), and are more “present-oriented” (Blatt and Quinlan 1967,
in Ferrari et al. 1995).
Vodanovich and Seib (1997) indicated that individuals with a heightened ten-
dency to procrastinate reported difficulties in structuring their time and viewed their
use of time as less personally meaningful than non-procrastinators. Others empiri-
cal studies on time management and procrastination found negative correlations
(Lay 1992), and Lay and Schouwenburg (1993) hypothesized that time manage-
ment was a mediator of the relation between procrastination and dilatory behavior.
In a work-related context, Van Eerde (2003) showed that time management training
increases the ability to manage time and decreases rates of preoccupation and
procrastination.
Because procrastination is viewed as wasting time, time perspective has been
studied in relation to procrastination. Chronic procrastinators prefer short-term
activities (Ferrari and Emmons 1995; Lasane and Jones 2000; Pychyl et al. 2000a)
avoiding or dismissing future goals in favor of reducing present tension (Baumeister
1997; Ferrari 2001) or seeking more immediate rewards (Pychyl et al. 2000b). In
this way, chronic procrastinators look for immediate pleasurable rewards in the
present time (Steel 2007). Time perspective represents an individual’s way of relat-
ing to the psychological concepts of past, present, and future. Individuals use past,
present, and future frames in encoding, storing, and recalling experienced events
and in forming expectations, goals, and imaginative views (Boyd and Zimbardo
2005). Procrastination is conceptually representative of self-regulatory failure
(Ferrari 2001) and consequently disables individuals from guiding their goal-
directed activities across changing circumstances and over time (Karoly 1993).
Researchers demonstrated that dilatory behavior related stronger to a present
orientation in comparison with a future orientation. An emphasis on future time
orientation requires a long-time perspective. A person with this orientation may
need longer time for important decisions, especially when there are long delays
along the course of action. To determine the extent to which procrastination is asso-
ciated with Time Perspective (i.e. past, present and future), Specter and Ferrari
(2000) found that chronic procrastination in making decisions and postponing the
beginning or finishing of tasks, was negatively associated with a future orientation,
positively associated with a past orientation, and not associated with a present time
orientation. After controlling negative affect, Jackson et al. (2003) showed that aca-
demic procrastination among students had robust positive associations with a nega-
tive evaluation of the past, a fatalistic view of the present and negatively related to
future. Also, these researchers found that low levels of structured and purposed time
were related with high procrastination. Whereas Specter and Ferrari (2000) found
that decisional procrastination were related to low future and high past orientation,
Jackson et al. (2003) found that academic procrastination was related to low future,
high present fatalistic and past-negative. Clearly, in these two studies where two
different scales of procrastination were used (decisional and academic procrastina-
tion), procrastination was related to low future time perspective. Still, the common
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statement that procrastinators prefer immediate pleasurable rewards in the present
time wasn’t confirmed.
More recently, several studies found that procrastination correlates positively
with fatalistic and/or hedonistic presents and negatively with future time orienta-
tions, using Zimbardo’s Time Perspective Inventory (ZTPI) (Ferrari and Díaz-
Morales 2007a; Díaz-Morales et al. 2008b; Digdon and Howell 2008).
Ferrari and Díaz-Morales (2007a) found significant zero-order correlations
between two scales of procrastination (GP and AIP, respectively) and Time
Perspective (TP) dimensions of Spanish version of ZTPI (Díaz-Morales 2006): neg-
ative correlation with future, and positive correlations with present-fatalistic and
present-hedonistic TP. The positive relation to past-negative TP was significant to
AIP but not to GP (see Table 1 for details). Moreover, when shared variance between
both procrastination scales and age were controlled in a hierarchical regression
model, scores on AIP scale (controlling GP and age) was negatively predicted by
present-fatalistic TP, whereas scores on GP scale (controlling AIP and age) was
positively predicted by present-hedonist TP, and negatively associated with future TP.
The zero-order correlation profile indicated that as hedonistic as fatalistic view
of the present were related to procrastination, similar to zero-order correlations
showed by Jackson et al. (2003, p. 21). Results concerning the two procrastination
scales in the hierarchical regression analysis were of interest. When the shared vari-
ance of each scale was controlled (plus age), AIP was related to fatalistic present TP,
whereas GP was related to hedonistic present TP. As indicated the authors, perhaps,
both procrastination scales measures different form of procrastination: more related
to avoidance, the AIP, and more related to arousal, the GP. Recent findings have
discussed about this conceptualization and more research is necessary (Steel 2010).
However, the relationship between AIP and past-negative, and the results of
regression analysis where shared variance of both AIP and GP procrastinations
scales and age were controlled, was one good raison to follow researching and to
analyze if relationship between time perspective dimensions and procrastination
were different when different procrastination scales were used. Moreover, as we
indicated before, previous studies had found that high decisional procrastination
Table 1 Zero-Order Correlations found in studies about relations between Procrastination Scales
and Time Perspective (ZTPI)
Studies
Past-
negative
Past-
positive
Present-
hedonistic
Present-
fatalistic Future
Specter and Ferrari (2000) AIP −0.45
Jackson et al. (2003) 0.39 0.31 0.57 −0.53
Ferrari and Díaz- Morales (2007a) GP 0.14 0.28 −0.53
AIP 0.13 0.20 0.31 −0.59
Díaz-Morales et al. (2008a, b) AIP 0.13 0.20 0.31 −0.61
DP 0.38 0.16 0.30 −0.47
Note: GP General Procrastination scale, AIP Adult Inventory of Procrastination, DP Decisional
Procrastination scale
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t1.2
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was associate to low future, high past, and not associated to present time orienta-
tions (Specter and Ferrari 2000), whereas academic procrastination among students
was associated to past-negative, present-fatalistic or negative view of the present,
and negatively to future time perspective (Jackson et al. 2003). What could explain
theses apparent differences of time perspective profile of procrastinators? It could
be possible that differences were because procrastination was measured by indeci-
sion scale (Specter and Ferrari 2000), a more cognitive form of procrastination, and
by academic procrastination scale, a more situational form of procrastination
(Jackson et al. 2003).
Following this line of reasoning, Díaz-Morales et al. (2008b) study analyzed the
time perspective profile of procrastinators when behavioral and cognitive measures
of procrastination were used. As behavioral measure of procrastination it was chose
the Adult Inventory Procrastination (AIP, McCown et al. 1989) plus another mea-
sure related to time, more biological-behavioral, the morningness-eveningness ori-
entation, evaluated by the Composite Scale of Morningness (CS, Smith et al. 1989).
As typical cognitive measure of procrastination it was chose the Decisional
Procrastination Scale (DP, Mann 1982). Despite the fact that both Morningness-
Eveningness (M/E) and Time Perspective (TP) relate to the area of human temporal
functioning their mutual relationships had poorly been investigated until recently
(Díaz-Morales et al. 2008b). Moreover, given that people’s ability to organize their
day is at the core of the timing of many daily behaviors, it was assessed how procras-
tinators and indecisive individuals differed in their time perspective (i.e., their way
of relating to the past, present, or future) and also in morningness–eveningness (i.e.,
their preference for specific times during the day to do task or feel best moment).
Behavioral procrastination (evaluated by AIP) was negatively related to future
and positively related to present-fatalistic, present-hedonistic, and past-negative TP
(see Table 1). The profile was identical to found previously in a similar Spanish
adult sample (Ferrari and Díaz-Morales 2007a). Decisional procrastination (indeci-
sion) was negatively related to future, and positively related to present-fatalist, past-
negative, and past-positive TP, but was not related to present-hedonist TP (see
Table 1).
These results are similar to Specter and Ferrari’s (2000, p. 200) study, who evalu-
ated indecision (zero-orders correlations coefficients of r = −0.45 with future, and
r = 0.32 with past time orientations of Temporal Orientation Scale by Jones et al.
1996) and similar to Jackson et al. (2003) who evaluated academic procrastination
and found negative relation with future, and positive relations with present- fatalistic,
present-hedonistic, and past-negative TP. The correlation with past- positive TP was
not significant).
Recently, Gupta et al. (2012) using a shortened version of the ZTPI (15 items)
found that procrastination was inversely predicted by future and past-negative TP,
and positively by present-fatalistic and past-positive TP. Although in the paper zero-
order correlations was not indicated (only regression coefficients), and despite the
differences between average age of samples and measures used, the results are simi-
lar to zero-order correlations found previously among the two referenced studies
with Spanish adults (see Table 1): procrastination (AIP scale used in both studies)
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was negatively related with future, and positively related with present-fatalistic,
present-hedonistic and past-negative TP (Ferrari and Díaz-Morales 2007a, and
Díaz-Morales et al. 2008a, respectively). Past-Positive TP was not related to pro-
crastination in any of two studies (0.01 and 0.01, respectively).
On other hand, procrastination (evaluated by AIP scale) was negatively related to
morningness, whereas the negative correlation between indecision and morningness
was not significant. Perhaps individual who procrastinates delayed their daily activi-
ties because they believed they performed best in the afternoon or evening. It seemed
that among adult men and women, procrastination, but not indecision, related to
being a night person. Procrastinators likely performed activities during the evening,
specifically much later than most people (Ferrari et al. 1997; Hess et al. 2000).
It is well-know that procrastination negatively relates to conscientiousness, as
people postpone necessary duties to protect their self-esteem (Schouwenburg and
Lay 1995; Van Eerde 2003; Watson 2001). Therefore, it may be that the reason
why evening individuals are not held in the same regard as morning people is
their tendency to avoid certain obligations during the day, making them low in con-
scientiousness and likely to not conform to certain tasks that need immediate
attention. Also, people high in morningness represent the best values and standards
because they are more conscientious (Jackson and Gerard 1996) and have a dutiful
or conformist personality style (Díaz-Morales 2007). The findings suggest that
procrastination may mediate the relation between morningness-eveningness and
a variety of maladaptive processes related to a low future and high present time
orientations. Future oriented individuals exhibit various conscientious behaviors in
regard to structuring time. They stress punctuality, wear watches and use agendas
more often, and prefer regularity in their lives. Procrastinator people act with an
opposite profile.
Other subsequent studies about procrastination have analyzed their relation to
morningness-eveningness preference. Academic procrastination has been nega-
tively related to M/E, point out that poor self-regulation is a salient characteristic of
evening students (Digdon and Howell 2008). It is possible that self-regulation
difficulties causes delayed sleep schedule causing the realization of task to the end
of day, or that evening preference causes difficulties of self-regulation and the person
would be out of sync with earlier schedules required by daytime commitments.
Similar results has been found among Poland students sample remarking that probably
morning people is predominately thinking in tomorrow, whereas evening people
live in the present moment (Stolarski et al. 2013). Interestedly, self-control has also
been proposed mediating the chronotype-time perspective relationships (Milfont
and Schwarzenthal 2014).
Future-oriented people tend to carefully plan and organize their work activities,
which is the opposite of procrastinators who show low persistence, work discipline,
time management skills, and the ability to work methodically (Milgram and Tenne
2000). A present-focus orientation may relate to completing tasks as close to a
deadline as possible. Such a strategy may energize the individual to work quickly
especially if the task is unattractive or not challenging (Van Eerde 2003). An higher
score on present-hedonistic TP is a characteristic of individuals what seek pleasure
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and enjoyment, have high levels of energy, and they lack emotional stability
(Zimbardo and Boyd 1999), whereas an higher score on procrastination is typical of
people who tend to be sensation seekers, focusing on pleasure in the moment as
opposed to the completion of tasks that fail to provide high levels of sensation or
pleasure (Steel 2007). Also, present-fatalistic individuals exhibit low levels of con-
scientiousness, depression, and high levels of emotional instability, which is related
to task evasiveness and emotional instability of procrastinators (Dewitte and
Schouwenburg 2002). The relations showed in some studies between procrastina-
tion and both present-hedonistic and present-fatalistic time orientations could be
explained by the way to evaluate procrastination, the characteristic of the sample
(students vs. adults), or even the cultural context.
However, both dimensions of present, hedonistic and fatalistic, have logical rela-
tions with procrastination. Procrastinators could engage in pleasurable activities or
make excuses to gain additional time for completing tasks, feeling bad and discom-
fort with the situation (Ferrari et al. 1995). Emphasis on past time orientation might
enable a person to take a long-term perspective, avoid risks, and emphasize stability,
whereas an emphasis on present time orientation might facilitate a person to live in
the here and now focusing on short-term perspectives (Brislin and Kim 2003).
Studies have shown that a motivational mechanism of procrastination may include
neglecting previous experience, particularly failures (Buehler et al. 1997), which
result in postponement of action motivated by an avoidance response. The relation-
ship between indecision and both past-negative and positive TP could be explained
because indecisive individuals may be too preoccupied with reminiscing about both
positive and negative past events, and this form of rumination may result in indeci-
sion (Janis and Mann 1977).
Some final limitations must be indicated, because when the comparison of differ-
ent results obtained from different studies is realized trying to elucidate the relations
between procrastination and time perspective, several aspect must been considered.
First, demographics characteristics of the samples are not directly identical: age
(students or adults) and nationality. Second, when time perspective dimensions are
considered, usually a regression analysis is realized considering time dimensions as
predictors and procrastination as criteria. However some studies included covariates
(i.e. age, other procrastination or time scales) and the results of regression coeffi-
cients are not directly comparable. For this reason, zero-order correlations coeffi-
cients have been revised in this chapter. An third, the size effect of correlations
coefficients was high to future, moderated to present time orientations and past-
negative, and small to present hedonistic and past positive.
Conclusions: Is It About Time?
Procrastination refers to an irrational tendency to delay beginning and/or complet-
ing tasks that should be completed, feeling subjective discomfort. Procrastinators
know they should perform and activity and may even want to do so but they fail to
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motivate themselves to initiate and finish activities within desired or expected time
frames (Ferrari 2010). More than half of college students consider procrastination is
a severe problem in their lives and about 15–20 % of the general populations of very
different countries (Ferrari et al. 2007). Results of several studies indicated that
people with cognitive (indecision) procrastination tendencies reported that they
were focus less in the future, more in present fatalistic and, at the same time, in past-
positive and past-negative time perspective.
A plausible explanation for the relation to both, negative and positive, past orien-
tations is that indecisive individuals may be too preoccupied with reminiscing about
both positive and negative past events, and this form of rumination may result in
indecision. On the other hand, people reported high behavioral procrastination
claimed low future and high present-fatalistic, present-hedonistic and past-negative
time perspectives. The lack of future TP was related to both tendencies to a fatalistic
and hedonic view of the present. The resigned present and negative past are anteced-
ents of a reduced motivation to plan ahead, congruent to a negative vision of the
future. On other hand, focus on immediate pleasures and not in complicated plans
to future, is also supported in some studies, suggesting that chronic procrastinators
focus on present pleasures more than non-procrastinators. Past researches have
noted that when procrastinators engage in pleasurable activities or make excuses to
gain additional time for completing tasks, the also report increased guilt (Ferrari and
Beck 1998). Finally, although research about counseling the procrastination has
been compiled (Schouwenburg et al. 2004), from the recent findings about unbal-
anced or biased time perspective, procrastination could be treated (Boniwell and
Zimbardo 2004). Also, the potential utility of Time Perspective Therapy proposed
recently (Zimbardo et al. 2012) could be added in the research agenda for future. In
consequence, it is possible that procrastinators experience the present with both
hedonistic and fatalism terms and the correlational studies realized among under-
graduates or adults, using different measures and in different age range, not provide
sufficient discrimination power. As would say a typical procrastinator: more time is
necessary to elucidate these complex but interesting relationship.
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Author Query
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AU1 Please provide the reference list for Haghbin et al. (2009)
... A number of studies on academic procrastination (e.g. Alexander &Onwuegbuzie, 2007; Βridges &Roig, 1997;D az- Morales & Ferrari, 2015;Ferrari, Keane, Wolfe & Beck, 1998;Howel, Watson, Powell &Buro, 2006;Solomon &Rotblum, 1984) used the Procrastination Assessment Scale Students (PASS, Solomon and Rotblum, 1984). An extensive body of literature demonstrated that the original scale was internally consistent (Ferrari, 1989) and valid (Beswick, Rothblum, & Mann, 1988;Milgram, Batori, Mowrer, 1993;Rothblum, Solomon,&Murakabi, 1986;Solomon &Rothblum, 1984). ...
... "fear of failure", "task aversion", "fear of success" and "lack of assertiveness/ time management skills)were quite similar to those found in previous studies (Ferrari, Keane, Wolfe& Beck, 1998;Solomon &Rothblum, 1984;Xatzidimou, 1994). The absence of gender differences is also in line with previous literature (D az-Morales & Ferrari, 2015;Ferrari, 1991;Ferrari, 2001;Haycock, McCarty, &Skay, 1998;Hess, Sherman, & Goodman, 2000;Johnson & Bloom, 1995;Mathioudakis, 2012;Rothblum, et. al., 1986;Schouwenburg, 1992;Siatis, 1012;Solomon &Rothblum, 1984;Watson, 2001). ...
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Αcademic procrastination, characterized by self-regulation difficulties in delaying the start or completion of academic tasks (Ferrari, 2010), is widespread among university students. One of the most widely used measures of academic procrastination is Procrastination Assessment Scale Students (PASS, Solomon &Rotblum, 1984). However, there is adearth of research investigating its factorial structure using confirmatory factor analysis. Greek studies on academic procrastination are also scarce. The present study investigated academic procrastination among Greek university students (n = 865),as well as the factorial structure of PΑSS. Results from a CFA supported a one factor solution. Moreover, 40.5% of students were characterized as frequent procrastinators, towards reading for the exams, writing essays or attending classes. The reasons students gave for procrastinating were “fear of failure”, “task aversion”, “fear of success /peer pressure” and “lack of assertiveness/ time management skills”. No major, age, or gender differences in academic procrastination were detected. Finally, most students wished to participate in a future anti-procrastination program. Findings increase the ecological validity of current literature and could be potentially useful for counselors and researchers
... The tendency to postpone making decisions was more strongly related to neuroticism, while avoidant procrastination was more strongly related to conscientiousness (Milgram & Tenne, 2000). Similarly, some researchers consider general procrastination as a kind of personality disposition associated with self-efficacy and selfregulation (Gropel & Steel, 2008); others mention also certain situational determinants, such as stress or the characteristics of the task to be performed (Díaz-Morales & Ferrari, 2015). Decisional procrastination, by contrast, is often perceived as cognitive failure (Ferrari, 2000), involving a delay in accessing information about the alternatives available or certain memory deficits in processing complex information. ...
... Previous studies have revealed a relationship between procrastination and time perspective, particularly future time perspective (Díaz-Morales & Ferrari, 2015). It is for the future that we set goals, make plans, and do scheduled tasks (Nuttin, 1964). ...
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In recent years, the new media have become so attractive that they are used for meetings, entertainment, and work. People more and more often use Facebook or phones instead of doing their work or family duties. The main aim of the present study was to test the mediating role of future anxiety in the relationship between procrastination and problematic new media use. The participants were students (N = 478), aged 18 to 27 (M = 19.93, SD = 1.77); 64% of the sample were women. The General Procrastination Scale, the Decisional Procrastination Scale, the Facebook Intrusion Questionnaire, the Adapted Mobile Phone Use Habits, and the Future Anxiety Scale—Short Form were used. The study showed that those students who procrastinated often reported a high tendency to engage in problematic new media use and a high level of future anxiety. The findings of the study have important implications for research on problematic Facebook and mobile phone use. They may be applicable in the work of psychologists, psychiatrists, and therapists, both in prevention and in developing online addiction therapies.
... Given the nature of procrastinatory behavior as impulsive and maladaptive deviations from plans with limited future temporal orientation (Specter and Ferrari, 2000;Díaz-Morales and Ferrari, 2015;Sirois and Pychyl, 2018), it is likely that procrastinatory behavior often may result without much consideration of potential negative consequences. First, procrastinators may, through rationalization and wishful thinking, perceive their procrastinatory behavior as rational. ...
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Standard definitions of procrastination underscore the irrational nature of this habit, a critical criterion being that the procrastinating individual delays despite expecting to be worse off for the delay. However, an examination of more than 175 items in 18 procrastination scales reveals that they do not address such a forward-looking criterion. Consequently, scales run the risk of not separating maladaptive and irrational delays from other forms of delay. We propose that forward-looking considerations may not be the best way of operationalizing the irrationality involved in procrastination and argue that scales should instead focus on past negative consequences of unnecessary delay. We suggest a new scale to measure such procrastination-related negative consequences and demonstrate that this scale, used separately or combined with established procrastination scales, performs better in predicting negative states and correlates to procrastination than established scales. The new scale seems to be helpful in separating trivial forms of unnecessary delay from maladaptive forms and hence represents a potentially valuable tool in research and clinical/applied efforts.
... According to Steel (2017), almost 95% of the whole population procrastinates occasionally and 15-20% can be considered chronic procrastinators. Also Vion's (2016) findings show that in 20% of the population, procrastination is a habit and a research by Dias-Morales and Ferrari (2015) showed that 20-25% of the population is formed by procrastinators. ...
... This problem, which reveals an inefficient time management problem, difficulties or lack of motivation when it comes to the performance of certain activities in a stipulated time (Pychyl et al., 2000;Steel et al., 2018), has serious social and personal consequences (Goroshit, 2018). Expressed in numbers, this problem becomes a maladaptive lifestyle for 20-25% of healthy adults, whose autonomy can be affected (Harriott and Ferrari, 1996;Díaz-Morales and Ferrari, 2015). ...
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