Predictors of academic procrastination in college students

Brian Farran, Fordham University


Academic procrastination has been characterized as a prevalent and problematic behavior for college students. The current study investigated how different self-perceptions, in other words different beliefs one maintains about oneself, related to academic procrastination in a sample of 186 undergraduate students. Participants completed self-report measures of academic procrastination (Procrastination Assessment Scale-Students), academic self-efficacy (Academic Self-Efficacy Scale), academic self-concept (Academic Self-Concept Scale), general self-esteem (Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale), depression (Beck Depression Inventory-Second Edition), and anxiety (Beck Anxiety Inventory). Participants also completed a social desirability measure (Balanced Inventory of Desired Responses-Form 6), which allowed for statistical control of socially desirable response bias relative to hypothesis testing, and a demographic questionnaire. Participation in the study adhered to APA ethical guidelines. Based on the literature, it was hypothesized that academic procrastination would significantly, inversely associate with academic self-efficacy, academic self-concept, and general self-esteem. It was also hypothesized that academic procrastination would significantly, positively associate with both depression and anxiety. The results of the study supported these hypotheses. Participants who reported higher academic procrastination also reported higher depression and anxiety, and more negative beliefs about their global self-worth, self-worth relative to the role of student, and sense of efficacy relative to academic tasks. Based on self-efficacy theory and the role of self-efficacy beliefs as a mediator of behavior (Bandura, 1986, 1988, 1989), the present study hypothesized that self-efficacy would mediate the relationships between depression and academic procrastination, and also anxiety and academic procrastination. Results partially supported these hypotheses, as academic self-efficacy was a partial mediator. Post-hoc analyses indicated that of the set of predictor variables, academic self-concept was the strongest predictor of academic procrastination, and also a significant mediator of the relationship between depression and academic procrastination, and also anxiety and academic procrastination. Impression management was determined to be a covariate, and was statistically controlled for within the present study. None of the demographic variables significantly correlated with academic procrastination within the present study. The discussion section presented implications and limitations of the present study, and also suggestions for future research.

Subject Area

Psychotherapy|Personality|Educational psychology

Recommended Citation

Farran, Brian, "Predictors of academic procrastination in college students" (2004). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3125010.