Procrastination and anxiety: Exploring the contributions of multiple anxiety-related disorders
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Submission date: 2017-07-05
Final revision date: 2017-11-21
Acceptance date: 2017-12-12
Online publication date: 2018-03-16
Publication date: 2018-04-18
Current Issues in Personality Psychology 2018;6(2):122–129
Procrastination is the unnecessary delay of a task that subsequently creates anxiety (Rothblum, Solomon, & Maurakami, 1986). Research suggests that procrastination is linked with poorer mental health, but questions remain regarding its association with anxiety disorders. Studies exploring obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and procrastination have found high levels of procrastination in OCD (Ferrari & McCown, 1994), but have also found no association between obsessive thoughts and procrastination (Kağan, Çakır, İlhan, & Kandemir, 2010). Scher and Osterman (2002) found that procrastination correlated with physiological anxiety and social anxiety, but not worry. No previous research has examined the connection between procrastination and health anxiety.

Participants and procedure:
A non-clinical university sample (N = 300) completed online self-report questionnaires in order to examine the relationships between procrastination and symptoms of OCD, generalised anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, health anxiety, and panic disorder.

Symptoms of panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and health anxiety correlated with levels of procrastination. However, using a multiple regression analysis, only panic disorder symptoms uniquely predicted procrastination.

It is proposed that people with panic disorder may procrastinate to avoid anxiety inducing situations, or that individuals who frequently procrastinate may become sensitive to the anxiety caused by procrastination, thereby potentially triggering panic disorder. The full implications of these findings are further discussed.

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