Study Of Defining Procrastination Behavior

This study will be studied more on the related readings that had been made in order to give more understanding about the selected topic of academic procrastination among physical and health students. Thus, the literature will discuss on procrastination behaviour, academic procrastination, factor or causes of academic procrastination among students, and solution or strategies or recommendation that has been done by others researchers regarding to this topic.

Noran (2000) defined procrastination as “avoiding doing a task which needs to be accomplished”. She explained that the procrastinator likes to spend his or her time socializing with friends rather than working on given assignments which need to be submitted soon. Beswick, Rothblum and Mann (1988) acknowledged that “procrastination is a destructive habit, creating difficulties in study, career and personal life” (p. 207), resulting in psychological stress in student’s efforts to meet approaching deadlines. Tuckman (1998) stated that “procrastinators are difficult to motivate” (p. 146) and are expected to put aside their tasks and studies until the last possible moment.

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Moreover, Solomon and Rothblum (1984) stated procrastination as the “act of needlessly delaying tasks to the point of experiencing discomfort” (p. 503) in this study which is behavior like to delaying task given into a final bring to uncomfortable situation. Senecal, Koestner and Vallerand (1995) considered procrastination as knowing that one is supposed to perform an activity and perhaps even wanting to do so, yet failing to motivate oneself to perform the activity. A procrastinator realizes he/she has a task that needs to be done, but is unable to carry it out within a given period of time to finish the task.

Most people have some implicit theory about why they procrastinate. Burka and Yuen (1982) noted that those who have serious problems with procrastination generally tend to attribute their difficulties to personality flaws, such as being lazy, undisciplined, or not knowing how to organize their time. Trait procrastinators are thought to engage in dilatory behaviour for diversity of reasons. (Burka & Yuen, 1982; Solomon & Rothblum, 1984) stated that reasons for procrastination may include the protection of their self-esteem through self-handicapping, a demonstration of autonomy, the avoidance of aversive tasks, an avoidance of state anxiety, a response to their fear of failure or perfectionist tendencies, and because they lack self-regulation and self-management capabilities.

According to McCown (1986), behaviourists believe that procrastination is a learned habit developing from a human preference for pleasurable activities and short-term rewards. In contrast, psychodynamic theorists view procrastination as rebellion against overly demanding or overindulgent parents, or as a means of avoiding unconscious death anxiety (Blatt & Quinlan, 1967; McCown, petzel, & Rupert, 1987). A popular theory about the etiology of procrastination is that it is a strategy for protecting a fragile sense of self-esteem (Berry, 1975; Burka & Yuen, 1983).

Internal consequences of procrastinatory behaviour may include irritation, regret, despair, and self-blame (Burka & Yuen, 1983). External consequences can include impaired work and academic progress, strained relationships, and lost opportunities (Burka & Yuen, 1983; Carr, 2001). Despite these negatives effects and a growing request for help by procrastinators in both academic and business environments (Burka & Yuen, 1983), procrastination remains a relatively poorly understood phenomenon (Haycock et al. 1998).

In other point of view, some research stated that procrastination has positive consequences. This behaviour has been shown to function as a temporary relief from stress and as a strategic effort to better a bad mood temporarily (Tice, Bratslavsky, & Banmeister, 2001). Chase, L (2003) stated that there is difference between putting off doing something because one does not want to do it, and putting off doing something because it is not important right now, he continued with “procrastination is a highly desirable time management skill” in today’s business climate.

2.2 Academic Procrastination Phenomenon Among students

Academic procrastination also correlates significantly with academic performance; highest-performing students procrastinate less compared to lower-performing student (Moore, 2008). Highest-performing students can manage and organize they time management skill but difference for the lower-performing student that more disorganization.

Previous research on academic procrastination has shown various negative impacts towards student in several aspects such as completing their assignment, academic project, and studying for their tests and exams. There are quite a few reasons and causes why students choose to delay to start their task (given assignment by lecturer or a topic to be revised on a particular subject). Procrastinators face more trouble managing themselves in comparison with non procrastinators and resulting in a bad performance or poor achievement in any form of assessment (writing, presentation or stage performance). Procrastination gives no advantage and is also a problem that needs to be given serious attention.

Linda Solomon and Esther Rothblum of the University of Vermont were conducting the first study on academic procrastination in 1984. The two psychologists have created a test to measure procrastination called the Procrastination Assessment ScaleStudents (PASS), which has two parts. The first part with how frequently the students procrastinate on 6 academic tasks and whether they think it is a problem, with higher scores indicating higher self-reported procrastination. Some of the academic tasks are writing term paper, studying for exams and keeping up with weekly reading assignments. The second part deals with the factors behind the procrastination, and students assess which of the 26 factors are most responsible for their procrastination. Some of the reasons included are evaluation anxiety, perfectionism and indecision. The study found that fear of failure and task aversiveness were the two main reasons why college students procrastinated (Solomon & Rothblum, 1984). Fear of failure is usually manifested as performance anxiety, lack of self-confidence and perfectionism.

Previous research (Solomon & Rothblum, 1994) indicated that nearly one fourth of all college students reported problems with procrastination on such academic tasks as writing term papers, studying for exams, and keeping up with weekly readings. Furthermore, there was a significant positive correlation between self-reported procrastination and a variety of clinical factors such as depression, trait anxiety, and irrational cognitions, and a significant negative correlation between procrastination and self-esteem. These findings suggest that procrastination is more than a study-skills deficit, but includes cognitive and affective components.

It is unlikely that the large numbers of students negatively affected by procrastination need clinical intervention (e.g., therapy for depression), but it is likely that they may have related academic problems (e.g., test anxiety) that need to be addressed in counselling (Rothblum, E. D, Solomon, L. J., & Murakami, J. 1986). There is evidence that high procrastinators may be motivated to decrease delay only when their anxiety and worry reached peak levels (Solomon, Murakami, Greenberger, & Rothblum, 1983).

2.3 Factors Influences Procrastination Behaviour

There are many factor of procrastination. According to Williams, Stark and Foster (2008) “A student may procrastinate because he or she simply does not understand the assignment instructions”. They explained procrastination to be caused by negative self-views. Students may delay doing an assignment because of self-doubt and unpleasant emotions; they feel they are not clever, do not belong in their learning institution and assume themselves as having more trouble in doing the assignments than other students. However, there are some other factors or causes of procrastination stated by Noran (2000).

First is poor time management and indecision. A person who procrastinates is not capable of managing time wisely, causing him or her unable to set goals, objectives or to determine what things are more important, therefore he/she postpones doing academic tasks to a later date. Janis and Mann’s (1997) conflict theory of decision making treats procrastination as a major “coping pattern” for dealing with difficult decisions. According to conflict theory, the antecedents of procrastination include severe decisional conflict coupled with pessimism about finding a satisfactory solution to the problem. Procrastination is therefore a means of dealing with conflict and indecision. Mann (1982) has devised a scale of procrastination as it relates to conflictful decisions. Items include: “Even after I have made a decision I delay acting upon it”, “I delay making decisions until it is too late”; “I put off making decisions”; “I waste a lot of time on small matters before getting to the final decisions”; “When I have to make decision I wait a long time before starting to think about it”.

The second factor of procrastination is task aversiveness. It is typically defined in terms of how unpleasant or unenjoyable a task is to perform ( e g , Lay, 1990; N. Milgrani et al.. 1995; Solomon 8r Rothblum, 1984). Previous research has demonstrated that individuals tend to engage in more procrastination behaviour on tasks which are perceived to be more unpleasant or less enjoyable than others. Research done by N. A. Milgram et al. (1988) has found that students are more likely to delay tasks that they find less enjoyable doing, compared to tasks that they enjoy doing. In similar fashion with previous stated research, N. Milgram et al. (1995) found that individuals were more likely to report experiencing greater levels of behavioural delay for unpleasant tasks than for tasks described as being neutral or pleasant. However, aversivenes of task is rarely the only reason why students procrastinate on academic tasks (Solomon & Rothblum, 1984). This factor relates not only to the dislike of engaging in academic activities, but also to a lack of energy. Students who endorsed this factor reflecting difficulty in making decisions and time management, two areas that were frequently endorsed. This factor correlates significantly with depression, irrational beliefs, and punctuality and organised study habits (Solomon & Rothblum, 1984).

The third cause of procrastination according to Noran (2000) is the fear and anxiety related to failure. A person with high fear and anxiety spends more time worrying about the approaching test or assignment rather than studying or starting to do his or her given assignment. Anxiety is another frequently studied variable, both in research on procrastination (e.g., Rothblum et al., 1986; Solomon & Rothblum, 1984) and in studies of self-efficacy (e.g., Bandura, 1986; Bandura, Adams, beyer, 1977). Typically, procrastination researchers have found a significant positive relationship such that individuals with higher anxiety are more likely to procrastinate. Levels of anxiety arousal can affect the extent to which individuals believe that they are able to handle threatening situations and vice versa (Bandura, 1986). Procrastination may be an avoidance response related to either anxiety or weak efficacy expectations, or perhaps to both variables (Haycock. L. A, McCarthy. P, & Skay. C. L, 1998). Bandura’s (1986). There is evidence that high procrastinators may be motivated to decrease delay only when their anxiety and worry reach peak levels (Solomon, Murakami, Greenberger, & Rothblum, 1983). The prevalence of test anxiety among women, regardless of their level of procrastination, suggests that many women who are not procrastinators are affected by anxiety.

Fourth, is the unrealistic expectation or sense of perfectionism of the procrastinator also contributes to the causes of procrastination. Perfectionism occurs in three separate forms: self-oriented perfectionism occurs when people places high standards for themselves, other-oriented perfectionism occurs when people place high standards for other people and socially-prescribed perfectionism occurs when people allow others to place high standards on them. The study found that “overall academic procrastination appears to be related significantly to socially prescribed perfectionism” (Onwuegbuzie, 2000). Basically, Dr. Onwuegbuzie’s study implies that students procrastinate because they feel that other people have high expectations of their work. Students seem to feel an implicit pressure from their peers and professors to produce very good ideas and research on the very first try. As a reaction to this socially-prescribed perfectionism, students delay their work. The study also found that self-oriented perfectionism had a small effect on procrastination while other-orientated perfectionism had no effect on procrastination.

However, there are some other factors which influence procrastination behavior such as having personal problems, which hinder the students to concentrate doing and completing the assigned tasks. Next, the student might base their esteem on high performance, which led to procrastination as it allows them to avoid complete testing of their abilities, thus maintaining a belief that their abilities are higher than their actual performance might be (Haycock. L. A, McCarthy. P, & Skay. C. L, 1998).

2.4 Previous Studies on Procrastination

Howell, Watson, Powell and Buro (2006) found that a student tends to postpone submission of assignments until the deadline is approaching. Their findings also reveal that self-reported procrastination interrelated with say-do correspondence, which suggest that a student who tends to procrastinate also have the tendency to not do what they said they will do.

The level of hope in one student also determines the level of procrastination as Alexander and Onwuegbuzie (2007) revealed that students who show higher level of hope procrastinate less compared to students with a lower level of hope. Haycock, McCarthy and Skay (1998) revealed a student with strong efficacy expectations tended to report less procrastination.

Moreover, Self-efficacy for self-regulated learning was a major predictor for a student’s expectation of getting a higher and lower grade. Low self-efficacy for self-regulated learning was significantly related to high procrastination and predicted expectations of not doing well academically (Tan et al, 2008). Klassen, Krawchuk and Rajani, (2008) also found in their study that self-efficacy for self regulation is a stronger predicator of the tendency to procrastinate, compared to other such as self-regulation, academic self-efficacy and self-esteem. They stated that negative procrastinators reported to have a lower GPA, received lower class grade, delaying to begin important assignment, wasting their time by procrastinating and show less confidence in regulating their own learning.

Furthermore, Chu and Choi (2005) defined two types of procrastinator, the passive procrastinator and the active procrastinator. The passive procrastinator is a person who fails to complete his/her task and paralyzed by his/her indecision, while an active procrastinator is a person who prefer to work under pressure and make planned decision to procrastinate. They found that non procrastinators and active procrastinators have similar characteristics and are different from passive procrastinators. Non procrastinators and active procrastinators are able to manage their use of time than do passive procrastinators, who are unable to manage their time wisely.

2.4 Conclusion

Procrastination is prevalence in our lives and it affects undergraduate students either in positively or negatively way. The effects of procrastination vary from personality problems to academic performance. Varied reasons identified by varied researchers conducted. Some reason of procrastination is true to some individuals, but it may be differs to others.

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