Advances in Health Sciences Education

, Volume 23, Issue 4, pp 817–830 | Cite as

Self-efficacy for self-regulation and fear of failure as mediators between self-esteem and academic procrastination among undergraduates in health professions

  • Yanting Zhang
  • Siqin Dong
  • Wenjie Fang
  • Xiaohui Chai
  • Jiaojiao Mei
  • Xiuzhen Fan


Academic procrastination has been a widespread problem behavior among undergraduates. This study aimed to examine the prevalence of academic procrastination among undergraduates in health professions, and explore the mediation effects of self-efficacy for self-regulation and fear of failure in the relationship between self-esteem and academic procrastination. A cross-sectional design was used to study 1184 undergraduates in health professions from China. Participants completed measures of academic procrastination, self-esteem, self-efficacy for self-regulation and fear of failure. We used Pearson product-moment correlation to examine the bivariate correlations between study variables, and path analysis to examine mediation. Among the 1184 undergraduates, 877 (74.1%) procrastinated on at least one type of academic task. The total score for academic procrastination was negatively correlated with scores for self-esteem and self-efficacy for self-regulation, and positively correlated with the score for fear of failure. Moreover, the relationship between self-esteem and academic procrastination was fully mediated by self-efficacy for self-regulation (indirect effect: β = − .15, 95% bootstrap CI − .19 to − .11) and fear of failure (indirect effect: β = − .06, 95% bootstrap CI − .09 to − .04). These findings suggest that interventions targeting the enhancement of self-efficacy for self-regulation and the conquest of fear of failure may prevent or reduce academic procrastination among undergraduates in health professions, especially for those with lower self-esteem.


Academic procrastination Self-esteem Self-efficacy for self-regulation Fear of failure Undergraduates Health professions 



This work was supported by the Natural Science Foundation of Shandong Province [No. ZR2013CM039], and the comprehensive education and teaching reform program of Shandong University 2015.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

The Medical Ethics Committee of Shandong University approved the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yanting Zhang
    • 1
  • Siqin Dong
    • 1
  • Wenjie Fang
    • 1
  • Xiaohui Chai
    • 1
  • Jiaojiao Mei
    • 1
  • Xiuzhen Fan
    • 1
  1. 1.School of NursingShandong UniversityJinanChina

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