European Journal of Psychology of Education

, Volume 28, Issue 3, pp 841–861 | Cite as

Exploring reasons and consequences of academic procrastination: an interview study

  • Carola GrunschelEmail author
  • Justine Patrzek
  • Stefan Fries


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.


Academic 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.


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Copyright information

© Instituto Superior de Psicologia Aplicada, Lisboa, Portugal and Springer Science+Business Media BV 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carola Grunschel
    • 1
    Email author
  • Justine Patrzek
    • 1
  • Stefan Fries
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of BielefeldBielefeldGermany

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