Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 40, Issue 4, pp 625–637 | Cite as

State anxiety reduces procrastinating behavior

  • Ping XuEmail author
  • Claudia González-Vallejo
  • Zhe Hong Xiong
Original Paper


Three experiments conducted in China and the US investigated the impact of state anxiety on behavioral procrastination. Participants were induced into a high- or a low-anxiety state and then given a period of 12 min either to practice for an upcoming test or entertain themselves (e.g., watch videos). The results showed that participants in a high-anxiety state spent more time practicing for the upcoming test than participants in a low-anxiety state. Impulsivity and trait procrastination were also measured. Impulsivity was found to be positively correlated with both trait procrastination and dilatory behavior. Overall the findings support a self-regulatory theory account such that the negative emotion associated with anxiety motivates people to increase the effort towards reaching a goal and take proactive measures for the most important task, thus reducing procrastination.


Procrastination State anxiety Impulsivity Dilatory behavior Trait procrastination 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ping Xu
    • 1
    Email author
  • Claudia González-Vallejo
    • 1
  • Zhe Hong Xiong
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyOhio UniversityAthensUSA
  2. 2.School of Psychology and Cognitive ScienceEast China Normal UniversityShanghaiChina

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