Lost in the Moment? An Investigation of Procrastination, Mindfulness, and Well-being

Original Article

Abstract

In this study, we extend previous work documenting links between procrastination, stress, and physical health by examining the potential role of mindfulness in explaining the high stress and poor health reported by procrastinators. A sample of 339 students (81% female) completed an on-line survey that included measures of trait procrastination, mindfulness, perceived stress, and perceived health. Univariate analyses revealed that procrastination was associated with low mindfulness, high stress, and poor perceived health. Structural equation modelling was used to test the role of mindfulness in explaining the links between procrastination and stress, and between procrastination and perceived health. The overall measurement model indicated a good fit to the data. Tests of the nested mediation models revealed that the effects of procrastination on stress and health were mediated by mindfulness, and bootstrapping analyses confirmed the significance of these effects. Our findings are consistent with previous research and theory on the salutatory effects of mindfulness for health and well-being and indicate that for procrastinators, low mindfulness may be a risk factor for poor emotional and physical well-being.

Keywords

Procrastination Mindfulness Stress Health Well-being 

References

  1. Baer, R. A., & Allen, K. B. (2004). Assessment of mindfulness by self-report: The Kentucky inventory of mindfulness skills. Assessment, 11(3), 191–206.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bollen, K. A., & Long, J. S. (1993). Testing structural equation models. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  3. Brown, K. W., & Ryan, R. M. (2003). The benefits of being present: Mindfulness and its role in psychological well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84(4), 822–848.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Brown, K. W., Ryan, R. M., & Creswell, J. D. (2007). Mindfulness: Theoretical foundations and evidence for its salutary effects. Psychological Inquiry, 18(4), 211–237.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Carver, C. S., & Scheier, M. F. (1998). On the self-regulation of behavior. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cohen, S., & Williamson, G. (1988). Perceived stress in a probability sample of the United States. In S. Spacapan & S. Oskamp (Eds.), The social psychology of health: Claremont Symposium on applied social psychology. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  7. Evans, D. R., Baer, R. A., & Segerstrom, S. C. (2009). The effects of mindfulness and self-consciousness on persistence. Personality and Individual Differences, 47(4), 379–382.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Fenigstein, A., Scheier, M. F., & Buss, A. H. (1975). Public and private self-consciousness: Assessment and theory. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 43, 522–527.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Ferrari, J. R. (1992). Procrastinators and perfect behavior: An exploratory factor analysis of self-presentation, self-awareness, and self-handicapping components. Journal of Research in Personality, 26(1), 75–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Ferrari, J. R., & Díaz-Morales, J. F. (2007). Procrastination: Different time orientations reflect different motives. Journal of Research in Personality, 41, 707–714.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Flett, G. L., Blankstein, K. R., & Martin, T. R. (1995). Procrastination, negative self-evaluation, and stress in depression and anxiety: A review and preliminary model. In J. R. Ferrari, J. H. Johnson, & W. G. McCown (Eds.), Procrastination, and task avoidance: Theory, research, and treatment (pp. 137–167). New York: Plenum.Google Scholar
  12. Forgas, J. P., Baumeister, R. F., & Tice, D. M. (2009). The psychology of self-regulation: An introductory review. In J. P. Forgas, R. F. Baumeister, & D. M. Tice (Eds.), The psychology of self-regulation (pp. 1–17). New York: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
  13. Friedman, H. S. (2000). Long-term relations of personality and health: Dynamisms, mechanisms, tropisms. Journal of Personality, 68(6), 1089–1107.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Holmbeck, G. N. (1997). Toward terminological, conceptual, and statistical clarity in the study of mediators and moderators: examples from the child-clinical and pediatric psychology literatures. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 65, 599–610.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Jackson, T., Fritch, A., Nagasaka, T., & Pope, L. (2003). Procrastination and perceptions of past, present, and future. Individual Differences Research, 1, 17–28.Google Scholar
  16. Kline, R. B. (2005). Principles and practice of structural equation modeling (2nd ed.). New York: The Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  17. Lay, C. H. (1986). At last, my research article on procrastination. Journal of Research in Personality, 20, 474–495.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Shrout, P. E., & Bolger, N. (2002). Mediation in experimental and nonexperimental studies: New procedures and recommendations. Psychological Methods, 7, 422–445. Google Scholar
  19. Sirois, F. M. (2004). Procrastination and counterfactual thinking: Avoiding what might have been. British Journal of Social Psychology, 43, 269–286.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Sirois, F. M. (2007). ‘‘I’ll look after my health, later’’: A replication and extension of the procrastination–health model with community-dwelling adults. Personality and Individual Differences, 43, 15–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Sirois, F. M., & Stout, D. (2011). When knowing better doesn’t mean doing better: Understanding the roles of procrastination and self-blame in the health and well-being of nurses. Paper presented at the 7th Biennial Conference on Procrastination, Amsterdam, The Netherelands.Google Scholar
  22. 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, 35(5), 1167–1184.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Steel, P. (2007). The nature of procrastination: A meta-analytic and theoretical review of quintessential self-regulatory failure. Psychological Bulletin, 133(1), 65–94.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Teasdale, J. D., Segal, Z. V., & Williams, M. G. (1995). How does cognitive therapy prevent depressive relapse and why should attentional control (mindfulness training) help? Behaviour Research and Therapy, 33, 25–39.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Tice, D. M., & Bratslavsky, E. (2000). Giving into feel good: The place of emotion regulation in the context of general self-control. Psychological Inquiry, 11, 149–159.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Tice, D. M., Bratslavsky, E., & Baumeister, R. F. (2001). Emotional distress regulation takes precedence over impulse control: If you feel bad, do it! Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 80(1), 53–67.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Ware, J. E. J., & Sherbourne, C. D. (1992). The MOS 36-item short-form health survey (SF-36): I. Conceptual framework and item selection. Medical Care, 30(6), 473–483.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Watson, D., & Pennebaker, J. W. (1989). Health complaints, stress and distress: Exploring the central role of negative affectivity. Psychological Review, 96(7), 234–254.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of WindsorWindsorCanada
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyBishop’s UniversitySherbrookeCanada

Personalised recommendations