The Relationship between Self-Esteem and Procrastination
Psyc 1013 – Introduction to Research Methods in Psychology
The study investigated the relationship between self-esteem and procrastination. A questionnaire was administered to a total of thirty (30) students from all faculties of the University of The West Indies Cave Hill Campus, who agreed to participate in the study. The responses obtained were recorded and the analyses were acquired through the entry of data into SPSS for Windows. Results revealed a moderately negative correlation between self-esteem and procrastination.
Pervin and John (1997, P.186) cited a study of self-esteem conducted by Coppersmith (1967), where he defined self-esteem as “the evaluation an individual makes and customarily maintains with regards to the self”. Coppersmith stated that a person’s self-esteem is the amount of worthiness the individual perceives himself as possessing and this worthiness is influenced by factors in his environment. Cohen and Manion (1981) contended that the self-esteem or the way a person feels about themselves consists of all the abilities and assumptions that he holds concerning himself, these feelings are believed to affect the ways in which the individual approaches tasks and the level at which he performs them. Rosenberg (1965) argued that persons with high self-esteem, express feelings that he/she is “good enough”, “the individual simply feels that he is a person of worth, he respects himself for what he is”. While on the other hand low self-esteem “implies self-rejection, self-dissatisfaction, and self-contempt”. Rosenberg postulated that persons with low self-esteem (egophiles) report greater difficulty and hesitation in social interactions and tend to have lower aspirations and expectations for success, than individuals with high self-esteem (egophobes). Procrastination is often referred to as the delaying of an action to a later date. It is seen in the field of psychology as delaying high priority tasks and replacing them with less important ones. According to Shraw, Wadkins, and Olafsonin in their article "Doing the things we do: A grounded theory of academic procrastination" (Journal of Educational Psychology), they stated that a behaviour must be counterproductive, needless and delaying for it to be classified as procrastination. Evans (2007) suggests that the prefrontal cortex can play a part in the physiological part of procrastination. This area of the brain is responsible for brain functions such as planning, attention and impulse control. A review of procrastination literature revealed that low self esteem is a characteristic of procrastinators (Burka and Yeun, 1983). Procrastination is viewed as a method of protecting their low self worth. “Putting things off acts as a buffer for their shaky sense of self worth” (Burka and Yeun, 1982, p. 32). They suggests that there may be many more reasons for procrastination such as deficient time management and study skills, the inability to make decisions, fear of success and lack of assertion. Two types of procrastinators have been identified, the relaxed type and the tense-afraid type. The first type devotes energy to other tasks because they view the main tasks negatively. The tense-afraid type procrastinator is usually exhausted with pressure and is not goal oriented and portrays many negative feelings. Effert and Ferarri, (1989) also concur low self-esteem a product of this behaviour. Ellis and Knause (1977) posit that procrastination can be seen as an “emotional disturbance stemming from irrational thoughts.” Having thoughts such as “I will only be considered a worthwhile person if I do well on my assignments,” will cause a person’s self-esteem to be lowered if they failed at succeeding. More so, this unreasonable way of thinking is used to avoid starting or finishing assignment because the student begins to think that doing the work will prove even more that they...
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