The Complexity of the Relation between Fear of Failure and Procrastination

  • Mohsen HaghbinEmail author
  • Adam McCaffrey
  • Timothy A. Pychyl
Original Article


This study investigated the indirect and conditional relation between fear of failure and procrastination based on constructs from self-determination theory. Using structural equation modeling to analyze data from 300 university students, we found that the relation between fear of failure and procrastination was moderated by perceived competence. The relation was positively significant for students with low levels of competence and negatively significant for those with high level of competence. However, in the latter group, fear of failure negatively affected satisfaction of the need for autonomy, which in turn increased the likelihood of problematic delay on academic and everyday-life tasks. The results are discussed in relation to the complex interplay of motivational variables related to self-regulatory failure.


Procrastination Fear of failure Competence Autonomy Relatedness Irrational beliefs 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mohsen Haghbin
    • 1
    Email author
  • Adam McCaffrey
    • 1
  • Timothy A. Pychyl
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyCarleton UniversityOttawaCanada

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