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The role of psychological distress as a potential route through which procrastination may confer risk for reduced life satisfaction

Abstract

Procrastination, mental health problems and decreased life satisfaction among university students constitutes an issue over which there is growing public concern. Yet, there is little research explaining the mechanisms through which academic procrastination may lead to less life satisfaction. The present study aimed to explore the link between procrastination and psychopathology among 2 samples (sample 1, N = 681 and sample 2, N = 183) of Greek University students. We also further tested the assumption that psychological distress would mediate the relationship between procrastination and life satisfaction. Data were analyzed using correlational analyses and structural equation modeling. In the first Study, procrastination was related to psychopathology. In the second study, results revealed that students who had the tendency to procrastinate in general, or their academic obligations, in particular, reported less psychological well-being, more anxiety, more psychological distress, less emotional ties, less general positive affect, more loss of behavioral and emotional control, more depressive symptoms and less life satisfaction. More importantly, the model exhibited a good fit to the data, while the bootstrapped standardized indirect effect of procrastination on life satisfaction was statistically significant supporting the hypothesis that Psychological distress partially mediated the relationship between procrastination and life satisfaction. In conclusion, difficulty to meet deadlines within a specific time-frame is related to worse mental health and decreased overall life satisfaction Academic procrastination, general procrastination, psychopathology, mental health, life satisfaction.

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Acknowledgments

Portions of this paper were presented at the 2nd International Conference on Time Perspective (ICTP). In Warsaw, Poland in 2014.

Gratitude is expressed to Andrea Siatis for the use of the data for sample 2 which contributed to his undergraduate dissertation and to Anastasia Kalantzi-Azizi, Emeritus Professor of Clinical Psychology at National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece, Supervisor of the dissertation and Head of the procrastination research program.

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Correspondence to Argiropoulou Maria-Ioanna.

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On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest. All procedures performed in the current study were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committee of the University of Ioannina and with 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Maria-Ioanna, A., Patra, V. The role of psychological distress as a potential route through which procrastination may confer risk for reduced life satisfaction. Curr Psychol 41, 2860–2867 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12144-020-00739-8

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Keywords

  • Academic procrastination
  • General procrastination
  • Psychopathology
  • Mental health
  • Life satisfaction