On Levels of Academic Procrastination: Sex and Chronotypical Differences in Students
The purpose of this study was to explore whether sex differences and chronotypical orientation (morningness-eveningness) differences exist in levels of procrastination. The sample consisted of 165 undergraduate English university students who responded to a procrastination inventory. Participants most frequently identified as chronic to severe procrastinators across groups. Contrary to previous findings, neither sex displayed differences in their levels of procrastination, nor did evening and morning chronotype differ in procrastination intensity. Although the study needs to be replicated with a larger, evenly between groups distributed sample, it was concluded that most participants classified as chronic to severe procrastinators which has implications for universities to take measures to lower academic procrastination amongst students.
Procrastination has more and more become a matter of interest across multiple disciplines (Ainsle, 2005); reaching from finance, as people put off their tax returns, or dealing with money troubles (Kasper, 2004), to medicine, where people postpone seeing their doctors (Siriois, 2007). Lingering concerns and allowing them to accumulate over time, is believed to be on the rise (Kachgal et al., 2001) as the failure of other self-regulatory behaviours increased over the past 25 years (Griffith & Parke, 2002). Procrastination also emerges to be a distressing phenomenon with over 95 per cent of people wanting to minimise it (O’Brien, 2002) and generally characterising it as bad, regretful, damaging and idiotic (Briody, 1980). Consistent with this perspective, procrastinators have been found to perform more poorly overall (Steel, Brothen, & Wambach, 2001) and to be more despondent in their well-being, long-term (Tice & Baumeister, 1997). A range of definitions currently coexists as to what constitutes procrastination behaviour, as do multiple measures of the construct. The disciplines of behavioural economics and neuroscience suggest procrastination to be an irrationally postponement of tasks, which is the deliberate deferral of an intended action regardless of the expectation of the outcome or situation to be more unpleasant, difficult or unsatisfactory (Steel, 2007). This standpoint is in line with neurobiological findings, suggesting that long term objectives or planning are largely constructed in the prefrontal cortex; however limbic system impulses, that are predominately sensitive to concrete immediate gratification stimuli, can supersede prefrontal impulses (McClure et al., 2007). As a result, intended tasks are being postponed in the presence of a sudden, temporary temptation. Focusing on the genetic predisposition to procrastination, Arvey et al. (2003, as cited in Steel, 2007) conducted a study comparing the degree to which 118 identical and 93 fraternal male twins procrastinated and found strong intra-class correlations, which accounted for 22 per cent of the variance that procrastination was associated with genetic factors. Additionally, Elliot (2002, as cited in Steel, 2007) examines test-retest data for a sample of 281 participants before and after 10 years and found a correlation of .77. He inferred that procrastination is adequately stable to be considered a trait. Taken together these findings, the genetic basis and personality trait stability suggest a biological component to procrastination. To assess the relationship between procrastination and sex differences, multiple studies have been conducted. However, their findings still remain contradictory. Sirin (2011) and Sherma and Kaur (2011) found no differences between female and male adolescents in procrastination scores in student samples. However, Özer, Demir and Ferrari (2010) compared a sample of 363 female and 421 male tertiary students and found males to engage in more frequent academic procrastination...
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