A metacognitive model of procrastination

Fernie, Bruce A., Bharucha, Zinnia, Nikcevic, Ana V., Marino, Claudia and Spada, Marcantonio M. (2017) A metacognitive model of procrastination. Journal of Affective Disorders, 210, pp. 196-203. ISSN (print) 0165-0327


BACKGROUND: procrastination refers to the delay or postponement of task or decision-making initiation or completion and is often conceptualised as a failure of self-regulation. Recent research has suggested that metacognitions play a role in procrastination and that unintentional procrastination (UP), as opposed to intentional procrastination (IP), may be the most problematic form of this behaviour. We aimed to test a metacognitive model of procrastination that was grounded in the Self-Regulatory Executive Function model. METHODS: a convenience sample of 400 participants were recruited and completed (at least partially) a battery of online questionnaires that measured IP and UP, metacognitions about procrastination, depression, and Cognitive Attentional Syndrome (CAS) configurations. Initially, we tested series of hypotheses to establish the relationships between the experimental variables and to test whether CAS configurations would independently predict UP when controlling for age, depression, IP, metacognitions about procrastination, and whether an individual reported that they had been diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder. RESULTS: CAS configurations, depression, and metacognitions independently predicted UP. Additionally, path analysis revealed that the study data was an excellent fit to the proposed metacognitive model of procrastination. LIMITATIONS: the study is cross-sectional. CONCLUSIONS: the metacognitive model of procrastination presented in this paper can be used to generate novel interventions to treat this problematic behaviour.

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