Academic Procrastination by Undergraduate Students
Operant Subjectivity , Volume 30 - Issue 1/2 p. 2- 22
Sixteen students participated in a study on reasons for academic procrastination. Sources of the concourse included free-writing by university students, academic literature, magazines, newspapers, web sites, and the researcher's personal experiences. The Q sample of 42 statements was structured around seven elements cited in the literature as influencing academic procrastination: task aversion, perfectionism/fear of failure, decision-making difficulties, self-handicapping strategies, emotions (e.g., defiance), pragmatic concerns, and time management skills. P-set members were undergraduates studying for teacher licensure at a regional campus of a large public university in the United States. They completed Q sorts and wrote explanatory responses to follow-up questions. Thirteen Q sorts became defining sorts in a four-factor solution. Data generated by PQMethod were interpreted in light of students' written comments. "Procrastinating for Pleasure" included students who were candid about preferring social activities to academic work. "Perfectionism at a Price" included students who wanted to do high-quality academic work but for whom procrastination exacted an emotional toll in anxiety and self-doubt. "Limited by Life" included students whose demanding family and work circumstances restricted their time for academic pursuits. "Delay by Design" included students who deliberately and positively built academic procrastination into their time management strategies. Interpretations of the data and implications for future research are presented.