Return to the origin: what creates a procrastination identity?
More details
Hide details
Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, United States
DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois, United States
Submission date: 2017-07-10
Final revision date: 2018-01-23
Acceptance date: 2018-02-12
Online publication date: 2019-02-18
Publication date: 2019-03-01
Current Issues in Personality Psychology 2019;7(1):1–7
Procrastination affects over 20% of adult men and women, with current international data indicating a global preference to sys-tematically delay the start or completion of intended tasks. Procrastination is a common, sub-optimal decision-making strategy that emphasises short-term benefits at the expense of later performance. Some individuals develop a pattern of procrastination which proves difficult to break; worse, they may begin to identify as a procrastinator, setting themselves up for failure.

Participants and procedure:
The current investigation examined what develops a procrastinator identity. Previous research indicated that chronic procrastina-tion is a learned tendency beginning in one’s early development from parental control approaches. We extended that line of research using a cross-cultural sample (n = 2124), self-reported procrastination (behavioural or deci-sional), and retrospective regret scores in 12 domains. We used logistic regression to predict the likelihood of explicitly identify-ing as a procrastinator.

Across three randomised partitions, results indicated that indecision and regrets about education, career, and finances most in-creased the likelihood of identifying as a procrastinator.

These findings support that regrets largely influenced by earning-potential best predict procrastination identity. The current re-sults are consistent with other studies assessing the causes and consequences of chronic procrastination regardless of country or ethnic background. Future research is needed.

Agirdag, O., Van Avermaet, P., & Van Houtte, M. (2013). School segregation and math achievement: A mixed-method study on the role of self-fulfilling prophecies. Teachers College Record, 115, 1–50.
Bandura, A. (1977). Self-efficacy: Toward a unifying theory of behavioral change. Psychological Review, 84, 191–215.
Byrne, K. A., Tibbett, T. P., Laserna, L. N., Carter-Sowell, A. C., & Worthy, D. A. (2015). Ostracism reduces reli-ance on poor advice from others during decision making. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 29, 409–418.
Eden, D., & Zuk, Y. (1995). Seasickness as a self-fulfilling prophecy: raising self-efficacy to boost performance at sea. Journal of Applied Psychology, 80, 628–635.
Ferrari, J. R. (2010). Still procrastinating? The no regrets guide to getting it done. New York: J. Wiley & Sons.
Ferrari, J. R., Barnes, K. L., & Steel, P. (2009). Life regrets by avoidant and arousal procrastinators: Why put off today what you will regret tomorrow? Journal of Individual Differences, 30, 163–168.
Ferrari, J. R., Johnson, J. L., & McCown, W. G. (1995). Procrastination and task avoidance: Theory, research, and treatment. New York, NY: Plenum Press.
Ferrari, J. R., & Patel, T. (2004). Social comparisons by procrastinators: Rating peers with similar or dissimilar delay tendencies. Personality and Individual Differences, 37, 1493–1501.
Ferrari, J. R., & Tibbett, T. P. (2017). Procrastination. In V. Zeigler-Hill & T. K. Shackelford (eds.), Encyclope-dia of Personality and Individual Differences (pp. 1–8). New York: Springer Meteor Press.
Gilovich, T., & Medvec, V. H. (1995). The experience of regret: what, when, and why. Psychological Review, 102, 379–395.
Harriott, J., & Ferrari, J. R. (1996). Prevalence of procrastination among samples of adults. Psychological Re-ports, 78, 611–616.
Klassen, R. M., Krawchuk, L. L., & Rajani, S. (2008). Academic procrastination of undergraduates: Low self-efficacy to self-regulate predicts higher levels of procrastination. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 33, 915–931.
Klingsieck, K. B. (2013). Procrastination: When good things don’t come to those who wait. European Psycholo-gist, 18, 24–34.
Kwong, J. Y., Wong, K. F. E., & Tang, S. K. (2013). Comparing predicted and actual affective responses to pro-cess versus outcome: An emotion-as-feedback perspective. Cognition, 129, 42–50.
Lench, H. C., Bench, S. W., Darbor, K. E., & Moore, M. (2015). A functionalist manifesto: goal-related emotions from an evolutionary perspective. Emotion Review, 7, 90–98.
Lench, H. C., Tibbett, T. P., & Bench, S. W. (2016). Exploring the toolkit of emotion: What do sadness and anger do for us? Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 10, 11–25.
Mann, L., Burnett, P., Radford, M., & Ford, S. (1997). The Melbourne Decision Making Questionnaire: An in-strument for measuring patterns for coping with decisional conflict. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 10, 1–19.
McCown, W., Johnson, J., & Petzel, T. (1989). Procrastination, a principal components analysis. Personality and Individual Differences, 10, 197–202.
Merton, R. K. (1948). The self-fulfilling prophecy. The Antioch Review, 8, 193–210.
Moston, S., Engelberg, T., & Skinner, J. (2015). Self-fulfilling prophecy and the future of doping. Psycholo-gy of Sport and Exercise, 16, 201–207.
Pikhartova, J., Bowling, A., & Victor, C. (2016). Is loneliness in later life a self-fulfilling prophecy? Aging and Mental Health, 20, 543–549.
Pychyl, T. A., & Sirois, F. M. (2016). Procrastination, emotion regulation & well‐being. In F. M. Sirois & T. A. Pychyl (eds.), Procrastination, health and well-being (pp. 163–188). New York, NY: Elsevier.
Roese, N.J., & Summerville, A. (2005). What we regret most... and why. Personality and Social Psychology Bul-letin, 31, 1273–1285.
Schwarz, N. (2012). Feelings-as-information theory. In Van Lange P. A. M., Kruglanski A. W., Higgins E. T. (eds.), Handbook of theories in social psychology (pp. 289–308). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
Smallman, R. (2013). It’s what’s inside that counts: The role of counterfactual content in intention formation. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 49, 842–851.
Stanislaw, H., & Todorov, N. (1999). Calculation of signal detection theory measures. Behavior Research Meth-ods, Instruments, & Computers, 31, 137–149.
Swets, J. A. (1986). Form of empirical ROCs in discrimination and diagnostic tasks: Implications for theory and measurement of performance. Psychological Bulletin, 99, 181–198.
Thomas, W. I., & Thomas, D. (1928). The child in America. New York: Knopf.
Tibbett, T. P., & Ferrari, J. R. (2015). The portrait of a procrastinator: Risk factors and results of indecision. Per-sonality and Individual Differences, 82, 175–184.
Tibbett, T. P., & Ferrari, J. R. (2018). The U.S. as a procrastiNATION: Assessing indecision on life satisfaction and life regret. North American Journal of Psychology, 19 (in press).
Tuttle, A. H., Tohyama, S., Ramsay, T., Kimmelman, J., Schweinhardt, P., Bennett, G. J., & Mogil, J. S. (2015). Increasing placebo responses over time in US clinical trials of neuropathic pain. Pain, 156, 2616–2626.
Wurm, S., Warner, L. M., Ziegelmann, J. P., Wolff, J. K., & Schüz, B. (2013). How do negative self-perceptions of aging become a self-fulfilling prophecy? Psychology and Aging, 28, 1088–1097.
Copyright: © Institute of Psychology, University of Gdansk This is an Open Access journal, all articles are distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) License (, allowing third parties to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format and to remix, transform, and build upon the material, provided the original work is properly cited and states its license.