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Delaying Disposing: Examining the Relationship between Procrastination and Clutter across Generations


We explored how two types of procrastination (indecision and behavioral), contribute to problems with clutter across three adult U.S. samples differing as generational cohorts. An online survey was administered to college students (mean age = 21) and younger adults recruited using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (MTurk; mean age = 31), plus older adults recruited with help from the Institute for Challenging Disorganization (mean age = 54) ( Hierarchical linear regression revealed that behavioral procrastination contributed significantly to an increasingly larger percentage of explained variance in clutter problems across the generational cohorts in a series of separate analyses. The addition of indecision as a variable led to a significant incremental increase in explained variance for the younger and older adult samples, but not for the student sample. Clutter problems led to a significant decrease in satisfaction with life among older adults. Findings suggest that general procrastination tendencies may enable a lifelong pattern of responses to one’s environment that become increasingly maladaptive throughout the life cycle - simultaneously delaying disposal decisions.

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The authors thank the Institute for Challenging Disorganization (ICD) for their assistance with data collection for the older adult population in this study.


This study was NOT funded by any grant.

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Correspondence to Catherine A. Roster.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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JR Ferrari declares that he has no conflict of interest. C Roster declares that she has no conflict of interest.

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Ferrari, J.R., Roster, C.A. Delaying Disposing: Examining the Relationship between Procrastination and Clutter across Generations. Curr Psychol 37, 426–431 (2018).

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  • Procrastination
  • Clutter
  • Indecision
  • Disposition
  • Well-being