Exploring reasons and consequences of academic procrastination: an interview study
In the present study, we broadly investigated reasons and consequences of academic procrastination. Additionally, we explored whether students seeking help from student counselling services to overcome academic procrastination (counselling group) report more serious reasons and consequences of academic procrastination than students who procrastinate but seek no counselling support (non-counselling group). We conducted standardized interviews with university students (N = 36, of which 16 belonged to the counselling group) and analysed these using qualitative content analysis and frequency analysis. The reasons and consequences of academic procrastination, each summarized in a separate category system, were manifold. The category systems consisted of 20 main categories in total, subsuming 81 subcategories, of which 32 were inductively developed. The counselling group reported more serious reasons and consequences of academic procrastination than the non-counselling group. Our results suggest considering academic procrastination as a self-regulation failure and contribute to constructing interventions tailored to students’ specific needs.
KeywordsAcademic procrastination Student counselling services Interviews Qualitative content analysis
This research was supported by grant 01PH08005A from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung). We would like to thank Cüneyt Sandal, Julia Brinkmann, Anne Fleck, Nina König, Melanie Kröger, Hanna Platzeck and Dana Renger for carrying out the interviews and their assistance in analysing the interviews. We also thank Katrin Klingsieck for her insightful and helpful comments on an earlier version of this article.
- Ackerman, D. S., & Gross, B. L. (2005). My instructor made me do it: task characteristics of procrastination. Journal of Marketing Education. doi: 10.1177/0273475304273842.
- Beswick, G., Rothblum, E. D., & Mann, L. (1988). Psychological antecedents of student procrastination. Australian Psychologist. doi: 10.1080/00050068808255605.
- Blunt, A. K., & Pychyl, T. A. (2000). Task aversiveness and procrastination: a multi-dimensional approach to task aversiveness across stages of personal projects. Personality and Individual Difference. doi: 10.1016/S0191-8869(99)00091-4.
- Chi, M. T. H. (1997). Quantifying qualitative analyses of verbal data: a practical guide. The Journal of the Learning Sciences. doi: 10.1207/s15327809jls0603_1.
- Corkin, D. M., Yu, S. L., & Lindt, S. F. (2011). Comparing active delay and procrastination from a self-regulated learning perspective. Learning and Individual Differences. doi: 10.1016/j.lindif.2011.07.005.
- Costa, P. T., & McCrae, R. R. (1992). Revised NEO Personality Inventory (NEO-PI-R) and NEO Five-Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI) professional manual. Odessa: Psychological Assessment Resources.Google Scholar
- Creswell, J. W., & Plano Clark, V. L. (2007). Designing and conducting mixed methods research. Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
- Day, V., Mensink, D., & O’Sullivan, M. (2000). Patterns of academic procrastination. Journal of College Reading and Learning, 30(2), 120–134.Google Scholar
- Dewitte, S., & Schouwenburg, H. C. (2002). Procrastination, temptations, and incentives: the struggle between the present and the future in procrastinators and the punctual. European Journal of Personality. doi: 10.1002/per.461.
- Fee, R. L., & Tangney, J. P. (2000). Procrastination: a means of avoiding shame or guilt? Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 15(5), 167–184.Google Scholar
- Ferrari, J. R., & Scher, S. J. (2000). Toward an understanding of academic and nonacademic tasks procrastinated by students: the use of daily logs. Psychology in the Schools. doi: 10.1002/1520-6807(200007)37:4<367::AID-PITS7>3.0.CO;2-Y.
- Ferrari, J. R., Johnson, J. L., & McCown, W. G. (1995). Procrastination research: a synopsis of existing research perspectives. In J. R. Ferrari, J. L. Johnson, & W. G. McCown (Eds.), Procrastination and task avoidance: theory, research, and treatment (pp. 21–46). New York: Plenum.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Flett, G. L., Blankstein, K. R., & Martin, T. R. (1995a). Procrastination, negative self-evaluation, and stress in depression and anxiety: a review and preliminary model. In J. R. Ferrari, J. L. Johnson, & W. G. McCown (Eds.), Procrastination and task avoidance: theory, research, and treatment (pp. 137–167). New York: Plenum.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Funder, D. C. (2008). Persons, situations and person-situation interactions. In O. P. John, R. Robins, & L. Pervin (Eds.), Handbook of personality (3rd ed., pp. 568–580). New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
- Harrington, N. (2005). It's too difficult! Frustration intolerance beliefs and procrastination. Personality and Individual Differences. doi: 10.1016/j.paid.2004.12.018.
- Jones, E. E., & Nisbett, R. E. (1972). The actor and the observer: divergent perceptions of the causes of behavior. In E. E. Jones, D. E. Kanouse, H. H. Kelley, R. E. Nisbett, S. Valins, & B. Weiner (Eds.), Attribution: perceiving the causes of behavior (pp. 79–94). Morristown: General Learning.Google Scholar
- Klassen, R. M., Krawchuk, L. L., & Rajani, S. (2008). Academic procrastination of undergraduates: low self-efficacy to self-regulate predicts higher levels of procrastination. Contemporary Educational Psychology. doi: 10.1016/j.cedpsych.2007.07.001.
- Klingsieck, K. B., Grund, A., Schmid, S., & Fries, S. (in press). Why students procrastinate: a qualitative approach. Journal of College Student Development.Google Scholar
- Kvale, S., & Brinkmann, S. (2009). InterViews: learning the craft of qualitative research interviewing (2nd ed.). Los Angeles: Sage.Google Scholar
- Lay, C. H., & Schouwenburg, H. C. (1993). Trait procrastination, time management, and academic behavior. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 8(4), 647–662.Google Scholar
- Mayring, P. (2000). Qualitative content analysis. Forum: Qualitative Social Research. http://www.qualitative-research.net/index.php/fqs/article/viewArticle/1089/2385. Accessed 24 Sep 2010.
- Mayring, P. (2008). Qualitative Inhaltsanalyse: Grundlagen und Techniken [Qualitative content analysis: Fundamentals and techniques] (10th ed.). Weinheim: Beltz.Google Scholar
- Milgram, N., Marshevsky, S., & Sadeh, C. (1995). Correlates of academic procrastination: discomfort, task aversiveness, and task capability. Journal of Psychology. doi: 10.1080/00223980.1995.9914954.
- Patrzek, J., Grunschel, C., & Fries, S. (2012). Academic procrastination: the perspective of university counsellors. International Journal for the Advancement of Counselling. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1007/s10447-012-9150-z.
- Patton, M. Q. (1990). Qualitative evaluation and research methods (2nd ed.). Newbury Park: Sage.Google Scholar
- Pychyl, T. A., Lee, J. M., Thibodeau, R., & Blunt, A. (2000). Five days of emotion: an experience sampling study of undergraduate student procrastination. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 15(5), 239–254.Google Scholar
- Schilling, J. (2006). On the pragmatics of qualitative assessment: designing the process for content analysis. European Journal of Psychological Assessment. doi: 10.1027/1015-5722.214.171.124.
- Schouwenburg, H. C. (1992). Procrastinators and fear of failure: an exploration of reasons for procrastination. European Journal of Personality. doi: 10.1002/per.2410060305.
- Schouwenburg, H. C., Lay, C. H., Pychyl, T. A., & Ferrari, J. R. (2004). Counseling the procrastinator in academic settings. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.Google Scholar
- Schraw, G., Wadkins, T., & Olafson, L. (2007). Doing the things we do: a grounded theory of academic procrastination. Journal of Educational Psychology. doi: 10.1037/0022-06126.96.36.199.
- Senecal, C., Lavoie, K., & Koestner, R. (1997). Trait and situational factors in procrastination: an interactional model. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 12(4), 889–903.Google Scholar
- Sirois, F. M., Melia-Gordon, M. L., & Pychyl, T. A. (2003). “I’ll look after my health, later”: an investigation of procrastination and health. Personality and Individual Differences. doi: 10.1016/S0191-8869(02)00326-4.
- Solomon, L. J., & Rothblum, E. D. (1984). Academic procrastination: frequency and cognitive-behavioral correlates. Journal of Counseling Psychology. doi: 10.1037/0022-0188.8.131.523.
- Stainton, M., Lay, C. H., & Flett, G. L. (2000). Trait procrastinators and behavior/trait-specific cognitions. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 15(5), 297–312.Google Scholar
- Stake, R. E. (2010). Qualitative research: studying how things work. New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
- Stead, R., Shanahan, M. J., & Neufeld, R. W. J. (2010). “I’ll go to therapy, eventually”: procrastination, stress and mental health. Personality and Individual Differences. doi: 10.1016/j.paid.2010.03.028.
- Steel, P. (2007). The nature of procrastination: a meta-analytic and theoretical review of quintessential self-regulatory failure. Psychological Bulletin. doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.133.1.65.
- Tesch, R. (1990). Qualitative research: analysis types and software tools. London: Falmer.Google Scholar
- Tice, D. M., & Baumeister, R. F. (1997). Longitudinal study of procrastination, performance, stress, and health: the costs and benefits of dawdling. Psychological Science. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.1997.tb00460.x.
- Tuckman, B. W. (1991). The development and concurrent validity of the Procrastination Scale. Educational and Psychological Measurement. doi: 10.1177/0013164491512022.
- van Eerde, W. (2003). A meta-analytically derived nomological network of procrastination. Personality and Individual Differences. doi: 10.1016/S0191-8869(02)00358-6.
- van Eerde, W. (2004). Procrastination in academic settings and the big five model of personality: a meta-analysis. In H. C. Schouwenburg, C. H. Lay, T. A. Pychyl, & J. R. Ferrari (Eds.), Counseling the procrastinator in academic settings (pp. 29–40). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.Google Scholar
- Weiner, B. (2000). Intrapersonal and interpersonal theories of motivation from an attributional perspective. Educational Psychology Review. doi: 10.1023/A:1009017532121.
- Wolters, C. A. (2003). Understanding procrastination from a self-regulated learning perspective. Journal of Educational Psychology. doi: 10.1037/0022-06184.108.40.206.