Do procrastination-friendly environments make students delay unnecessarily?
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Research on procrastination emphasizes trait explanations for unwanted delay, yet environmental factors are most probably significant contributors to the problem. In this paper, we review literature related to the influence of environmental factors on academic procrastination and investigate how such factors may be assessed in facilitating academic procrastination in students. Study 1 asked students to evaluate three different fields of study—natural sciences, medicine, and humanities—on environmental variables assumed to be relevant for academic procrastination (e.g., structured course progression, freedom in the study situation). Distinct differences between the academic fields were observed. In Study 2, participants from these three fields of study rated their own academic procrastination as well as peer procrastination and peer influence. Dispositional (trait) procrastination was also measured. The results demonstrated that environmental factors have a negligible impact on low-procrastinating students, whereas procrastination-friendly environments seem to facilitate and augment academic procrastination in students at medium-level dispositional procrastination, i.e., the majority of students. We conclude that social and environmental factors should receive increased attention in measures taken to reduce and prevent academic procrastination.