Academic journal article International Journal of Psychological Studies

The Prevalence, Predictors, Causes, Treatments, and Implications of Procrastination Behaviors in General, Academic, and Work Setting

Academic journal article International Journal of Psychological Studies

The Prevalence, Predictors, Causes, Treatments, and Implications of Procrastination Behaviors in General, Academic, and Work Setting

Article excerpt


Procrastination refers to a prevalent self-regulatory failure that alludes to deferring necessary actions required to successfully complete tasks on time, and instead engaging in activities that are more rewarding with short term over long term gains (Aremu, Williams, & Adesina, 2011). Procrastination is identified as one of the least understood minor human miseries and a complex psychological phenomenon that not only leads to psychological distress, but also shows significant links to lower levels of health, wealth, and well-being (Balkis & Duru, 2007; Steel & Ferrari, 2013). Approximately, 20-25% of adult men and women living around the world are indulged in chronic procrastination in various domains like academic, social relationships, professional, and finance management (Balkis & Duru, 2007; Ferrari & Díaz-Morales, 2014). Some of the identified factors closely associated with procrastination include evaluation anxiety, task aversiveness, task delay, low self-efficacy, lack of persistence, dependence, fear of failure, negative evaluation, irrational beliefs, learned helplessness, and perfectionism (Schubert & Stewart, 2000; Steel, 2007; Steel & Ferrari, 2013). Procrastination tendencies also give rise to poor self-esteem, poor self-confidence, anxiety, public and private self-consciousness, and concerns over public image (Ferrari, 2001). The prevalence, predictors, causes, treatments, and implications of procrastination behavioral patterns in general, academic, and work settings are reviewed.

Keywords: anxiety, conscientiousness, distress, ineffective time management, neuroticism, self-regulation, self-efficacy

1. Introduction

Searching for a person who has never been guilty of voluntarily delaying a task to a later date is equivalent to finding a needle in haystack. Most people would agree, either privately or publicly, that they have been guilty of dilly-dallying or procrastinating at least a few times in their life. Procrastination is derived from Latin verbs, "pro" refers to forward motion and "crastinus" refers to belonging to tomorrow (Ferrari, Johnson, & McCown, 1995). Procrastination is defined as a purposeful voluntary delay in beginning or finishing a task until the last minute or after the predetermined deadline, or indefinitely that would have been ideally completed in the present time (Freeman, Cox-Fuenzalida, & Stoltenberg, 2011; Gupta, Hershey, & Gaur, 2012; Rozental & Carlbring, 2013; Steel, 2007). Procrastination is also identified as a behavioral pattern that leads to ineffective time management, reduced performance levels, delayed study behaviors, lowered levels of frustration tolerance, maintaining task avoidance, ego depletion, speed-accuracy tradeoffs, and an inability to regulate negative emotions (Ferrari & Díaz-Morales, 2014; Schubert & Stewart, 2000). The five identified categories of procrastination behavior include (i) life routine procrastination, (ii) decisional procrastination, (iii) neurotic procrastination, (iv) compulsive procrastination, and (v) academic procrastination (Balkis & Duru, 2007).

Procrastination is not a new phenomenon and comparable constructs have been reported throughout history; nevertheless, those constructs had different and less negative connotations (Ferrari et al., 1995). Steel and Ferrari (2013) note that, in recent years, the incidence of procrastination has mounted with many people admitting to varying degrees of procrastination. Procrastination is deemed as extreme when people are delinquent in visiting a doctor or getting treatment done for ailments, until treatment is no longer an option (Steel & Ferrari, 2013). Procrastinators are not only unable to manage time wisely, but also are uncertain about priorities, goals, and objectives; thereby, neglecting attending to necessary responsibilities in a timely fashion despite of good intentions or inevitable negative consequences (Balkis & Duru, 2007). …

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