Publication details

Who are the ones that put off what they hate doing? Task aversiveness and situation procrastination in procrastinators and non-procrastinators



Year of publication 2012
Type Conference abstract
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description Task aversiveness plays an essential role in recent motivational explanations of procrastination (Steel, 2007; Steel & König, 2006). The concept of procrastination as regulatory failure presupposes that it is the inability to resist immediate temptations which prevents procrastinators from working on important, yet solely instrumental tasks which they find tedious and boring. An alternative perspective, however, would be that most college students, many of whom could be labelled "prototypical" procrastinators, do not enter a particular study programme for secondary purposes, but choose their subjects and courses freely and primarily out of interest. The effect of task aversiveness in chronic procrastinators should therefore be limited. To test this assumption, a group of college students of English (N=93), divided into procrastinators and non-procrastinators using Aitken Procrastination Inventory, gave information about how much time before the deadline they spent working on their own individual school tasks (written assignments or studying for tests) during the preceding exam period. After that, they indicated for each reported task their subjectively perceived level of procrastination, anxiety, and outcome quality, as well as the extent to which they found the task interesting or troublesome. Supplementary self-report measures of general attitude to academic tasks were also used. While there was no significant difference between procrastinators and non-procrastinators in any of the aversiveness scores used, positive correlations between task procrastination and task aversiveness were found mainly among non-procrastinators, especially concerning written assigments. This indicates that chronic procrastinators probably delay work on both interesting and troublesome tasks to a similar extent.

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