Essay: Procrastination: Is It Worth the Wait?


Abstract
Research has shown that academic procrastination is an issue of concern for university students. It has been reported that roughly 95% of college students procrastinate in academic specific tasks
(Ferrari, Johnson, & McCown, 1995) This research study will focus on the significance of the
relationship between academic procrastination and different demographic variables. Additionally, this study will attempt to show if there is a relationship between university life satisfaction and academic procrastination, as well as indicate if academic procrastination has a significant relationship to academic achievement. The purpose of this study is to see if there is a relationship between the above named variables and academic procrastination. It is hypothesized that all of these variables will have an effect on academic procrastination. It is hypothesized that student outcomes will be indicative of the participant’s gender, age, and grade level. Participants from Louisiana State University at Alexandria will be evaluated to identify a possible relationship between procrastination, participant demographics, student outcomes, and perceived life satisfaction.
Keywords: academic life satisfaction, procrastination, academic procrastination, grade level, demographic variables.


Procrastination: Is it worth the wait?
Procrastination is seen in all facets of life, and almost always has damaging effects. It has been documented that the tendency to procrastinate is a general problem that almost everyone deals with at some point (Harriot & Ferrari, 1996). Prior research has shown that procrastination is an issue of concern for university students. Academic procrastination is a phenomenon creating a problem of epidemic proportions among undergraduates (Ferrari, Johnson, & McCown, 1995; Ozer, Demir, & Ferrari, 2009; Solomon & Rothblum, 1984).
The high prevalence rate of procrastination among undergraduates is a wide-spread problem. Ellis & Knaus (1977) report that 95% of undergraduates procrastinate in academic specific tasks. Solomon and Rothblum (1984), found that when faced with academic tasks such as writing a paper, at least 46% of students reported that they procrastinate at least half of the time. Research by Balkis and Duru (2009) concluded that 23% of students reported procrastinating on academic tasks, and Ozer et al. (2009) noted that 52% of students procrastinate on academic tasks. Regarding the degree to which students felt that procrastination was a problem for them, 23.7% reported that it was nearly always a problem when dealing with academic tasks such writing a term paper, 21.2% reported procrastination was a problem when studying for exams, and 23.7% said it was a problem when given reading assignments (Solomon & Rothblum, 1984). Research reports that 65% of students reported the desire to decrease their tendency to procrastinate (Solomon & Rothblum, 1984). Prior research indicates that students report lower academic performance due to their tendency to procrastinate (Balkis & Duru, 2009; Ferrari, Johnson, & McCown, 1995; Ozer et al, 2009; Solomon & Rothblum, 1984). The negative effects that occur as a consequence of academic procrastination make it a problem of great significance. These negative effects are seen in student’s psychological adjustment and academic performance (Balkis, 2013). Academic failure (Ferrari et al, 1996), failing to attend classes, or withdrawing from school altogether are other negative effects resulting from procrastination (Knaus, 1998). Evidence suggests that there can be little argument that procrastination causes substantial problems and can be a disparaging force on many fronts.
Research Questions and Hypotheses
This study will examine the following research questions:
RQ1: Does academic procrastination always result in negative student outcomes when compared to students who choose not to procrastinate?
H1: It is hypothesized that academic procrastination will have a significant negative affect on student outcomes when compared to students who choose not to procrastinate on academic tasks.
RQ2: Does academic procrastination decrease perceived life satisfaction in undergraduate students?
H1: It is hypothesized that research will indicate that when academic procrastination increases, students perceived life satisfaction will decrease. It is believed that there will be an inverse relationship between academic procrastination and perceived life satisfaction.
RQ3: Is there a direct relationship between demographic variables and academic procrastination?
H1: It is hypothesized that research will show that academic procrastination will not differ across gender and only slightly differ among students of different age groups. However, it is believed that there will be a noteworthy difference in the amount of academic procrastination among differing grade levels. It is believed that research will find that as grade levels increase the tendency to procrastinate will also increase.

Definition of Terms
Academic achievement’represented by GPA that students achieved up to midterm this semester and GPA from previous semester.
Procrastination–behavior of unnecessary deferring of starting and/or completing tasks to deadline (Ferrari, Johnson, & McCown, 1995).
Academic procrastination’the most common type of procrastination that is prevalent among undergraduate students.
Academic life satisfaction’the expected satisfaction of one’s life in school by the fulfillment of his/her important academic goals or aspirations. Life satisfaction matters to current, not future, conditions and is subjective and depends on personal criteria and perceptions (Kumar and Dileep, 2005).
Literature Review
This literature review will focus on academic procrastination and its effect on student outcomes. The literature will discuss academic procrastination relative to demographics such as age, gender, and grade level. Procrastination is by no means a new occurrence, however, there were no studies done on procrastination until just recently. For the purposes of this study, comprehensive literature reviews on procrastination are beyond the scope of this study and will not be discussed.
Previous research by Ocal (2016) investigated the role of student burnout, academic self-efficacy, and academic success in predicting procrastination and life satisfaction in university settings. Participants included 224 students from a university in Turkey. Of the participants, 80 (35.7%) were female and 144 (64.3%) were male. The ages of participants range from 18-30 with a mean of 21.71 (SD=1.94). Four measures were used to gather data. The findings suggested that elevated levels of academic procrastination are associated with poor academic performance (Balkis, 2013). Findings show that GPA of females were significantly greater than those of males. These findings confirm the findings of other studies regarding the advantages females show over males in terms of different academic outcomes (Buchmann and DiPrete, 2006; Furnham et al., 2013; Sackett et al., 2009, as cited in Ocal, 2016). This research shows that freshmen have more university life satisfaction than seniors and juniors.
Research indicates that there is a relationship between academic procrastination and life satisfaction and academic achievement. Balkis (2013) reported that academic procrastination was significantly and negatively related with academic life satisfaction and academic achievement. Balkis (2013) researched 290 undergraduate students (69% of women and 31% of men) with an age range of 19-26 years of age with a mean of 21.34 (SD=1.41. Participants included students from the departments of counseling and guidance, early childhood education, social studies education, science education, and elementary education. Data was gathered anonymously through self-report questionnaires. The research showed a positive correlation between academic life satisfaction and academic achievement.
Studies reveal that demographic variables are relevant to academic procrastination. Three possible demographic factors that can be associated with procrastination are age, gender, and grade level. There are few studies examining the relationship between procrastination and undergraduate grade level. Research by McCown and Roberts (1994) studied dispersion of procrastination among 1543 undergraduate students. Results indicated that 19% of freshmen, 22% of sophmores, 27% of juniors, and 31% of seniors viewed academic procrastination as a source of great stress, resulting in more academic procrastination. The research supports that academic achievement decreases as procrastination increases. This study will seek to support research by McCown and Roberts (1994), showing that undergraduate grade level is a significant predictor of academic procrastination. This study will also attempt to fill in the knowledge gap and establish the significance of the relationship of academic procrastination and specific demographic variables such as gender, age, and grade level.
Proposed Method
Participants
Participants in this research study will include 100 students from Louisiana State University at Alexandria (LSUA). Participants will include both males and females ages 18 and above, and will include participants from various ethnic backgrounds. The researcher will recruit participants by means of convenience sampling. All participants of this study will be volunteers. A link will be sent out to LSUA students asking for their participation in the study. Students who choose to volunteer for this research study will follow a link that directs them to Survey Monkey, where the research questionnaire will be made available to the participant.
Materials
Volunteers of this study will be asked to sign an informed consent form (see Appendix A) to participate. The informed consent form will contain the purpose of the study, procedural information, and the risks and benefits of participating. The informed consent also includes the contact information of the researcher as well as contact information for counseling resources on campus that are available to the participants. The researcher will provide a link that directs participants to the questionnaire to be completed on Survey Monkey. The questionnaire will include Lay’s General Procrastination Scale (GP) (1986), and Deiner’s Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS) (1985), that are to be completed by the participant. A demographic information sheet will also be included in the questionnaire.
General procrastination scale
Lay’s General Procrastination Scale is a 20-item, 5-point (1 = not true of me; 5 = very true of me) measurement that examines behavioral tendencies to delays in the start of completion of everyday tasks for thrill-seeking experiences (see Appendix B). Some of the items in this scale are reverse coded. The sample alpha = 0.89. The temporal stability and construct and predictive validities of this research inventory is acceptable (retest r ‘ .60) (Lay, 1986).
Life satisfaction
The Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS) will be used to measure life satisfaction (see Appendix C). It is made up of 5 items that are intended to measure global cognitive judgments of one’s own life satisfaction. Participants indicate how much they agree or disagree with each of the 5 items using a 7-point likert scale that ranges from 7 (strongly agree) to 1 (strongly disagree) (Diener, Emmons, Larsen, and Griffin, 1985). Cronbach’s ” for reliability of the scale was 0.81 (Ocal, 2016).
Demographic information sheet
The demographic information sheet (see Appendix D) will be created for this study to include gender, age, grade level, and marital status.
Procedure
The research design used for this study will be non-experimental and correlational. The focus of the study is academic procrastination and its effect on student outcomes, particularly academic achievement and academic life satisfaction. The researcher will ask for the permission of the LSUA faculty to conduct this research study. Once permission has been granted, the researcher will begin recruiting participants via a link that will be sent out to LSUA students. Upon volunteering to take part in the study, the student will be required to first complete the informed consent form. After consent has been gained, participants will be directed to the next page on Survey Monkey that has the research questionnaire with the above listed materials. Participants will be asked to carefully read the directions and answer all questions to the best of their knowledge. Once participants have finished, they will be asked to submit their responses. Once the questionnaire is submitted, the participant will be directed to a page with a note from the researcher thanking them for taking the time to volunteer for and complete the research study questionnaire. The data from the participant questionnaires will then undergo statistical analysis to obtain the results of the study.
Results
Through statistical analysis of the data obtained from the participants, the following research questions and hypotheses will either be supported or rejected. The statistical analysis that will be used to evaluate the data are: the t-test for RQ1 and Pearson correlation for RQ2 and RQ3.
RQ1: Does academic procrastination always result in negative student outcomes when compared to students who choose not to procrastinate?
H1: It is hypothesized that academic procrastination will have a significant negative affect on student outcomes when compared to outcomes of those who do not procrastinate on academic tasks.
RQ2: Does academic procrastination decrease perceived life satisfaction in undergraduate students?
H1: It is hypothesized that research will show that when academic procrastination increases, students perceived life satisfaction will decrease. It is believed that there will be an inverse relationship regarding academic procrastination and perceived life satisfaction.
RQ3: Is there a direct relationship between demographic variables and academic procrastination?
H1: It is hypothesized that research will show that academic procrastination will not differ across gender and only slightly differ among students of different age groups. However, it is believed that there will be a significant difference in the amount of academic procrastination among differing grade levels. It is believed that research will show that general procrastination will typically decrease with age; however, it is likely that research will find that as grade levels increase from freshman to sophomore, academic procrastination will also increase; and that it will continue to increase with each grade level the student advances. Therefore, senior level students will have the highest rate of academic procrastination among all undergraduate students.


References
Balkis, M. (2013). Academic procrastination, academic life satisfaction and academic achievement: The mediation role of rational beliefs about studying. Journal of Cognitive and Behavioral Psychotherapies, 13(1), 57-74.
Balkis, M. & Duru, E. (2009). Procrastination, self-regulation failure, academic life satisfaction, and affective well-being: Underregulation or misregulation form. European Journal of Psychology of Education, 31(3), 439-459. doi:10.1007/s10212-015-0266-5
Diener, E., Emmons, R. A., Larsen, R. J., & Griffin, S. (1985). The Satisfaction with Life Scale.
Journal of Personality Assessment, 49, 71-75.
Ellis A., & Knaus W. J. (1977). Overcoming procrastination. New York: Signet Books.
Ferrari, J. R., Johnson, J. L., & McCown, W. G. (1995). Procrastination and task avoidance: Theory, research, and treatment. New York, NY, US: Plenum Press. doi:10.1007/978-1- 4899-0227-6
Ferrari J. R., ”zer, B.U., & Demir, A. (2009). Chronic procrastination among Turkish adults: exploring decisional, avoidant, and arousal styles. Journal of Social Psychology, 149(3), 302’308.
Harriott, J. S., & Ferrari, J. R. (1996). Prevalence of Procrastination among samples of adults.
Knaus, W. J. (1998). Do it now! Break the procrastination habit. New York: John Wiley.
Kumar, S.P.K & Dileep, P. (2005). Academic life satisfaction scale. Calicut:
Department of Education, University of Calicut
Lay, C.H. (1986). At last, my research on procrastination. Journal of Research in Personality,
20, 479-495.
Ocal, K. (2016). Predictors of academic procrastination and university life satisfaction among Turkish sport schools’ students. Educational Research and Reviews, 11(7), 482-490.
”zer, B. U., Demir, A., & Ferrari, J. R. (2009). Exploring academic procrastination among Turkish students: Possible gender differences in prevalence and reasons. The Journal of Social Psychology, 149(2), 241-257. doi:10.3200/SOCP.149.2.241-257
Solomon, L. J., & Rothblum, E. D. (1984). Academic procrastination: Frequency and cognitive behavioral correlates. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 31(4), 503-509. doi:10.1037/0022-0167.31.4.503

Appendix A
Informed Consent
The purpose of this study is to gather data about procrastination as part of an undergraduate research project. As part of this study you will be asked to fill out a short questionnaire. Your participation in this study will require approximately 10 minutes. All information you provide will remain confidential and will not be associated with your name. Your participation in this survey is strictly voluntary. If for any reason during this study you change your mind and do not wish to participate, please inform the researcher and your information will be disregarded and you will not be penalized for withdrawing from the study. There are no financial or other incentives or benefits for participating in this study. There are no risks associated with this study. Should you have any questions regarding the study, you may contact the researcher at abarfoot001@lsua.edu. Should you need to speak with a professional, you may contact a university counselor, Janice Miller, at (318) 413-6532. Please indicate by placing a mark in the box below that you understand your rights as a participant and agree to voluntarily participate in this study.’

Appendix B
Instructions: People may use the following statements to describe themselves. For each statement, decide whether the statement is uncharacteristic or characteristic of you using the following 5 point scale. Note that the 3 on the scale is Neutral ‘ the statement is neither characteristic nor uncharacteristic of you. To the right of each statement, put the number on the 5 point scale that best describes you.
Extremely Moderately Neutral Moderately Extremely
Uncharacteristic Uncharacteristic Characteristic Characteristic
1 2 3 4 5
1. I often find myself performing tasks that I had intended to do days before.
2.* I often miss concerts, sporting events, or the like because I don’t around to buying tickets on time.
3.* When planning a party, I make the necessary arrangements well in advance.
4. When it is time to get up in the morning, I most often get right out of bed.
5. A letter may sit for days after I write it before mailing it.
6. I generally return phone calls promptly.
7. Even with jobs that require little else except sitting down and doing them, I find they seldom get done for days.
8. I usually make decisions as soon as possible.
9. I generally delay before starting on work I have to do.
10.* When travelling, I usually have to rush in preparing to arrive at the airport or station at the appropriate time.
11. When preparing to go out, I am seldom caught having to do something at the last minute.
12. In preparing for some deadline, I often waste time by doing other things.
13.* If a bill for a small amount comes, I pay it right away.
14.* I usually return an RVSP request very shortly after receiving the invitation.
15. I often have a task finished sooner than necessary.
16. I always seem to end up shopping for birthday or Christmas gifts at the last minute.
17. I usually buy even an essential item at the last minute.
18. I usually accomplish all the things I plan to do in a day.
19. I am continually saying I’ll do it tomorrow.
20. I usually take care of all the tasks I have to do before I settle down and relax for the evening.

Appendix C
Instructions: Below are five statements that you may agree or disagree with. Using the 1 – 7 scale below, indicate your agreement with each item by placing the appropriate number on the line preceding that item. Please be open and honest in your responding.
‘ 7 – Strongly agree
‘ 6 – Agree
‘ 5 – Slightly agree
‘ 4 – Neither agree nor disagree
‘ 3 – Slightly disagree
‘ 2 – Disagree
‘ 1 – Strongly disagree
____ In most ways my life is close to my ideal.
____ The conditions of my life are excellent.
____ I am satisfied with my life.
____ So far I have gotten the important things I want in life.
____ If I could live my life over, I would change almost nothing.

Appendix D
Gender:
___Male
___Female

Grade Level:
___Freshman
___Sophomore
___Junior
___Senior

Age:
_____________

your text in here…

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