The study examined three psychological explanations for procrastination: indecision (Janis & Mann, 1977); irrational beliefs about self‐worth (Ellis & Knaus, 1977); and low self‐esteem (Burka & Yuen, 1983). Times taken by 245 students in a first‐year Psychology course to submit three separate assignments (a term‐paper outline, a term paper, and a research questionnaire) were recorded and correlated with measures of indecision, irrational beliefs, and self‐esteem, depression and anxiety. Similarly, students' self‐reported frequency of procrastination was correlated with the above measures. Small but significant correlations were found between indecision, irrational beliefs, and low self‐esteem and two measures of procrastination: time taken to submit a term paper and self‐reported frequency of procrastination. Multiple regression analyses revealed that self‐esteem and, to a lesser extent, indecision accounted for significant unique portions of the variance in procrastination. Significant correlations were also found between anxiety and depression and the two measures of procrastination. A significant negative correlation was found between self‐reported procrastination and final course grade, indicating that procrastination is detrimental to academic performance. It was found that older students (21 and over) were less likely to procrastinate than younger students.
Australian Psychologist – Wiley
Published: Jul 1, 1988
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