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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The cognitive antecedents of procrastination among secondary students Gorden, Lori J.


The purpose of this study was to investigate the extent to which secondary students in the Arts and Sciences programme procrastinate on school work, the extent to which these students perceive procrastination as a problem which they would like to change and the extent to which procrastination affects academic achievement. The study also sought to discover differences in procrastination related to gender and grade. Furthermore, this study assessed cognitions related to procrastination. Positive and negative self-statements were examined to determine whether high and low procrastinators endorse particular types of cognitive themes. The Procrastination Self-Statement Inventory was administered to 204 Arts and Sciences students from two secondary schools in a suburban/rural community in British Columbia. Part A of the inventory asked students to respond to 41 positive and negative self-statements. Part B asked students to respond to 12 questions about study habits and was used to determine a Procrastination Score for each student. Demographic data pertaining to gender, grade, age, academic achievement and future plans were also collected. Data about the extent of procrastination among secondary students and the degree to which students see this as a problem which they would like to change were examined using descriptive statistics. Inferential statistics were used to test eight hypotheses. Analyses of variance determined the statistically significant differences between the means of specified groups on certain variables. The results of the study confirm that secondary students in the Arts and Sciences programme do procrastinate on academic tasks and do see this as a problem that they would like to change. Results also indicate that there are no significant differences in the extent of procrastination among males and females but that there are differences related to grade level. However, a trend in procrastination related to length of time spent in school was not evident. Furthermore, the results confirm that procrastination has a negative impact on academic achievement. Finally, the results of the study suggest that low procrastinators endorse positive self-statements more than do high procrastinators and that high procrastinators endorse negative self-statements more than do low procrastinators. The low procrast1nators in the sample endorsed the following subscales: Facilitative Planfulness, Work Facilitative Items and Perfectionism. High procrastinators endorsed these subscales: Negativistic Intolerance, Immobilizing Mood, Low Self-Competence, Unrealistic Planning, Low Self-Control, Risktaking and Low Self-Esteem. Significant gender effects were found on the Risktaking subscale while significant grade effects were found on the Perfectionism subscale.

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