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A description of the psychological physical and scientific reasons behind procrastination

  • As hypothesized, procrastination was highest in the youngest cohort 14—29 years;
  • Some even believe they work best under pressure;
  • However, all of these results depended on the operationalization of procrastination;
  • As we had further hypothesized, procrastination was consistently associated with higher stress, more depression, anxiety, fatigue and reduced satisfaction across life domains, especially regarding work and income;
  • The No Regrets Guide to Getting It Done, would like to see a general cultural shift from punishing lateness to rewarding the early bird.

Received 2015 Jan 19; Accepted 2016 Jan 12. This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Abstract Addressing the lack of population-based data the purpose of this representative study was to assess procrastination and its associations with distress and life satisfaction across the life span.

Why Wait? The Science Behind Procrastination

A representative German community sample 1,350 women; 1,177 men between the ages of 14 and 95 years was examined by the short form of the General Procrastination Scale GPS-K; 1 and standardized scales of perceived stress, depression, anxiety, fatigue and life satisfaction. As hypothesized, procrastination was highest in the youngest cohort 14—29 years. Only in the youngest and most procrastinating cohort aged 14 to 29 yearsmen procrastinated more than women.

As we had further hypothesized, procrastination was consistently associated with higher stress, more depression, anxiety, fatigue and reduced satisfaction across life domains, especially regarding work and income. Associations were also found with lack of a partnership and unemployment.

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Findings are discussed with regard to potential developmental and cohort effects. While procrastination appears to be a pervasive indicator for maladjustment, longitudinal analyses in high-risk samples e.

Introduction Procrastination, putting off intended action, is a universal phenomenon, which may be employed for many reasons e. Therefore, Steel [ 2 ] characterized procrastination as a self-regulatory failure leading to poor performance and reduced well-being.

Over the last decades a considerable amount of literature has been published on procrastination and its causes and consequences in different aspects of life [ 2 ; 4 ]. In his seminal meta-analysis and review, Steel [ 2 ] identified task aversiveness, delay and personality characteristics particularly low self-efficacy, conscientiousness, self- control and achievement motivation as well as high impulsiveness and distractibility as determinants of procrastination, along with a potential genetic component based on a twin study.

  1. Some even believe they work best under pressure.
  2. Findings are discussed with regard to potential developmental and cohort effects.
  3. The No Regrets Guide to Getting It Done, would like to see a general cultural shift from punishing lateness to rewarding the early bird.

Based on temporal motivation theory, the results showed that goal setting, interest enhancement and energy reduced procrastination. Lack of energy was most strongly associated with procrastination, mediating the effect of interest enhancement. Goal setting appeared to be particularly important, when interest in the task was low.

Several studies have explored procrastinating behavior in an academic context and in the workplace. Procrastination has been most thoroughly studied in student populations, where it has been associated with increased levels of stress, anxiety, depression and poor academic performance [ 2 ; 6 ], but also with putting off everyday obligations [ 7 ]. Employees in jobs with lower intrinsic value e.

Additionally, further studies identified extreme and persistent procrastination as a risk factor for poor physical and mental well-being e.

Introduction

Procrastination as a dysfunctional form of delay was linked to delayed medical treatments and less mental health care utilization [ 11 ; 12 ].

Additionally, procrastinators tended to be single and less well educated [ 13 ]. The found associations between procrastination and lower psychological well-being may indicate that procrastination is also linked to reduced life satisfaction [ 14 ].

As people with the tendency to procrastinate seem to be less integrated in their social and professional lives e. However, all of these results depended on the operationalization of procrastination.

Men procrastinated more than women. Considering the high prevalence of procrastination and its individual and societal consequences, it is essential to explore procrastination, socio-demographic and mental health variables in a large community sample to identify risk populations.

The purpose of this study was therefore to study procrastination in a representative sample of the German population across the full age range from 14 to 95 years. We intended to determine the association of procrastination to demographic and vocational factors age, sex, education, employment, incomeand a broad range of mental health characteristics, especially perceived stress, distress depression, anxiety, fatigue and life satisfaction across a broad set of life domains. In line with previous research findings we hypothesized that procrastination was 1 higher in younger age [ 13 ] and 2 associated with more perceived stress and distress depression, anxiety, fatiguereduced quality of life and less social integration [ 2 ; 9 ; 14 ].

Method Participants The present study was based on a representative survey of the German population.

The sample consisted of a total of 2,527 participants 1,350 women; 1,177 men between the ages of 14 and 95 years who were recruited at 258 sample points, representing East and West Germany; the majority 79. Participants, who gave informed consent, were interrogated by face-to-face-interviews by trained interviewers in their homes and independently filled out additional questionnaires in the presence of the interviewer.

  1. The sampling procedure comprised three steps.
  2. Well-Being Believe it or not, the Internet did not give rise to procrastination.
  3. They argue that it conflates beneficial, proactive behaviors like pondering which attempts to solve a problem or prioritizing which organizes a series of problems with the detrimental, self-defeating habit of genuine procrastination.
  4. The full or part-time employment rate was 51.

No incentives were offered for study participation. The sampling procedure comprised three steps: First the areas were regionally stratified 1st step for identifying sampling points, where private households were selected 2nd step. In the 3rd step the individual within the selected household was determined.

By applying this random-route procedure the region, the households and target persons living in the households were randomly selected. Table 1 presents the data of the last official survey of the entire German population conducted in 2011 by the Statistical Federal Office showing the comparability with the data of the present sample.

After contacting the selected participants in their home, 55. The resulting quota matched other representative population samples.

The full or part-time employment rate was 51.

Table 1 Distribution of socio-demographic characteristics in the German population and in the present sample.