The effects of self-forgiveness and shame-proneness on procrastination: exploring the mediating role of affect

  • Lucia MartinčekováEmail author
  • Robert D. Enright


Previous research studies indicate that procrastination is often related to higher negative emotions and overall distress. Self-forgiveness, on the other hand, has been shown to be associated with lower distress and improved mental health. Therefore, the primary goal of our study was to test the relationship between self-forgiveness and procrastination and the potential mediating effect of emotions. Participants were 217 university students who completed an online survey assessing their level of procrastination, self-forgiveness for procrastination, shame-proneness and guilt-proneness, and positive and negative emotions. Higher self-forgiveness for procrastination was found to be associated with lower procrastination. The relationship between self-forgiveness and procrastination was mediated through the presence of higher positive emotions. Our second goal was to test the relationships between emotional components of self-forgiveness - shame-proneness and guilt-proneness - with procrastination. The correlational analyses showed a positive relationship between procrastination with shame-proneness, but no relationship between procrastination with guilt-proneness. In addition, the relationship between shame-proneness and procrastination was fully mediated through the presence of negative emotions. Overall, we propose that an individual who forgives himself/herself for his/her procrastination might be more motivated to accept responsibility, less motivated to avoid this behavior in the future, and therefore procrastinate less. We highlight the potential benefits of self-forgiveness for increasing positive emotions and thereby for reducing procrastination. Interventions that promote self-forgiveness could be beneficial for students who procrastinate.


Procrastination Self-forgiveness Shame-proneness Guilt-proneness Forgiveness Emotions 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Statement of Human Rights

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

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Experimental Psychology, Center of Social and Psychological SciencesSlovak Academy of SciencesBratislavaSlovakia
  2. 2.Department of Educational PsychologyUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA

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