Decisional Procrastination: Assessing Characterological and Contextual Variables around Indecision

Abstract

University students (n = 75; M age = 21.4 years old) and community adults (n = 55: M age = 36.6 years old) completed self-reported measures of decisional procrastination (indecision), character (life satisfaction, meaningful life, and need for cognition), context (place attachment, sense of community, and psychological home) and “cross-over” factors relating character and context (self-identity with possessions, people/thing orientation, and clutter), to provide an ecological understanding of persons who claim indecision. Controlling for social desirability tendencies, indecision was negatively related to all character but none of the context variables. Indecision also was related to both person and thing orientation and clutter. Multiple regression analysis indicated that only need for cognition significantly predicted (negatively) indecision among character, context, and cross-over variable sets. Subjective well-being also predicted indecision with low need for cognition among cross-over variables. Taken together, decisional procrastinators reported too much clutter (stuff), interfering with a positive quality of life and related to character over context and cross-over, ecological variables.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. Beswick, G., Rothblum, E. D., & Mann, L. (1988). Psychological antecedents of student procrastination. Australian Psychologist, 23(2), 207–217.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Blunt, A., & Pychyl, T. A. (1998). Volitional action and inaction in the lives of undergraduate students: state orientation, boredom and procrastination. Personality and Individual Differences, 24(6), 837–846.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Bronfenbrenner, U. (1979). The ecology of human development: Experiments by nature and design. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  4. Burnett, P. C., Mann, L., & Beswick, G. (1989). Validation of the flinders decision making questionnaire on course decision making by students. Australian Psychologist, 24, 285–292.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Cacioppo, J. T., Petty, R. E., & Kao, C. F. (1984). The efficient assessment of need for cognition. Journal of Personality Assessment, 48, 306–307.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  6. Crowne, D. P., & Marlowe, D. (1960). A new scale of social desirability independent of psychopathology. Journal of Consulting Psychology, 24, 349–354.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  7. Diener, E., Emmons, R. A., Larsen, R. J., & Griffin, S. (1985). The satisfaction with life scale. Journal of Personality Assessment, 49, 71–75.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  8. Effert, B., & Ferrari, J. R. (1989). Decisional procrastination: examining personality correlates. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 4, 151–156.

    Google Scholar 

  9. Ferrari, J. R. (1994). Dysfunctional procrastination and its relationship with self-esteem, interpersonal dependency, and self-defeating behaviors. Personality and Individual Differences, 15, 673–679.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Ferrari, J. R. (2010). Still procrastinating? The no regrets guide to getting it done. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

    Google Scholar 

  11. Ferrari, J. R., & Dovidio, J. (2000). Examining behavioral processes in indecision: decisional procrastination and decision-making style. Journal of Research in Personality, 34, 127–137.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Ferrari, J. R., & Dovidio, J. (2001). Behavioral decision making strategies by indecisives. Personality and Individual Differences, 30, 1113–1123.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Ferrari, J. R., & Pychyl, T. A. (2007). Regulating speed, accuracy, and judgments by indecisives: effects of frequent choices on self-regulation failure. Personality and Individual Differences, 42, 777–787.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Ferrari, J. R., Johnson, J., & McCown, W. (1995). Procrastination and task avoidance: theory, research, and treatment. New York: Plenum/Springer Science Publications.

    Google Scholar 

  15. Ferrari, J.R., Roster, C.A., Crum, K.P., & Pardo, M. (2017). Procrastinators and clutter: an ecological view of living with excessive stuff. Current Psychology, in press.

  16. Ferraro, R., Escalas, J. E., & Bettman, J. R. (2011). Our possessions, our selves: domains of self-worth and the possession-self link. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 21, 169–177.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Frost, R., & Shows, D. L. (1993). The nature and measurement of compulsive indecisiveness. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 31(7), 683–692.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  18. Graziano, W. G., Habashi, M. H., & Woodcock, A. (2011). Exploring and measuring differences in person-thing orientation. Personality and Individual Differences, 51, 28–33.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Harriott, J. S., Ferrari, J. R., & Dovidio, J. F. (1996). Distractibility, daydreaming, and self-critical cognitions as determinants of indecision. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 11, 337–344.

    Google Scholar 

  20. Janis, I. L., & Mann, L. (1977). Decision making: a psychological analysis of conflict, choice and commitment. New York: Free Press.

    Google Scholar 

  21. Mann, L. (1982). Decision-making scale. In J.R. Ferrari, J. Johnson, & W. McCown (1995). Procrastination and task avoidance: Theory, research, and treatment. New York: Plenum Press.

  22. Meyers, J.H., & Glazer, S. (2012). Meaningfulness in life: measurement development. Poster presentation at the annual Society for Personality and Social Psychology, San Diego, CA.

  23. Orellana-Damacela, L. E., Tindale, R. S., & Suarez-Balcazar, Y. (2000). The impact of self-discrepancies on people's tendency to procrastinate. Journal of Personality and Social Behavior, 15, 225–238.

    Google Scholar 

  24. Peterson, N. A., Speer, P. W., & McMillian, D. W. (2007). Validation of a brief sense of community scale: confirmation of the principal theory of sense of community. Journal of Community Psychology, 36, 61–73.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Reynolds, W. M. (1982). Development of reliable and valid short forms of the Marlowe-Crowne social desirability scale. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 38, 119–125.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Roster, C. A., Ferrari, J. R., & Jurkat, P. (2016). The dark side of home: assessing possession ‘clutter’ on subjective well-being. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 46, 32–41.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Scher, S., & Ferrari, J. R. (2000). The recall of completed and non-completed tasks through daily logs to measure procrastination. Journal of Social Behavior & Personality, 15, 255–265.

    Google Scholar 

  28. Signmon, S. T., Whitcomb, S. R., & Snyder, C. R. (2002). Psychological home. In A. T. Fisher, C. S. Sonn, & B. J. Bishop (eds). Psychological sense of community: research, applications, and implications (pp. 25–41). New York: Springer Publications.

  29. Specter, M., & Ferrari, J. R. (2000). Toward an understanding of academic and nonacademic tasks procrastinated by students: the use of daily logs. Psychology in the Schools, 34, 359–366.

    Google Scholar 

  30. Tibbett, T., & Ferrari, J. R. (2018). The U.S. as a ‘ProcrastiNATION’: Assessing indecision on life satisfaction and life regret. North American Journal of Psychology, 20, in press.

  31. Williams, D.R., & Roggerbuck, J.W. (1989). Measuring place attachment: Some preliminary results. Paper presented at the session on outdoor planning and management, NRPA Symposium on Leisure Research, San Antonio, TX.

Download references

Acknowledgements

Authors are grateful to Trina and Angela Dao for presenting this work at the 2017 biennial Procrastination Conference in Chicago, IL.

Funding

This study was not funded by any grant.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Joseph R. Ferrari.

Ethics declarations

Ethical Approval

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.

Informed Consent

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

Conflict of Interest

JR Ferrari declares that he has no conflict of interest. C Roster and M Pardo declare each that they have no conflict of interest.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Ferrari, J.R., Crum, K.P. & Pardo, M.A. Decisional Procrastination: Assessing Characterological and Contextual Variables around Indecision. Curr Psychol 37, 436–440 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12144-017-9681-x

Download citation

Keywords

  • Procrastination
  • Clutter
  • Possessions
  • Ecological context
  • Social relations