The unintentional procrastination scale

Fernie, Bruce A, Bharucha, Zinnia, Nikcevic, Ana V and Spada, Marcantonio M (2017) The unintentional procrastination scale. Journal of Rational-Emotive and Cognitive-Behavior Therapy, 35(2), pp. 136-149. ISSN (print) 0894-9085


Procrastination refers to the delay or postponement of a task or decision and is often conceptualised as a failure of self-regulation. Recent research has suggested that procrastination could be delineated into two domains: intentional and unintentional. In this two-study paper, we aimed to develop a measure of unintentional procrastination (named the Unintentional Procrastination Scale or the 'UPS') and test whether this would be a stronger marker of psychopathology than intentional and general procrastination. In Study 1, a community sample of 139 participants completed a questionnaire that consisted of several items pertaining to unintentional procrastination that had been derived from theory, previous research, and clinical experience. Responses were subjected to a principle components analysis and assessment of internal consistency. In Study 2, a community sample of 155 participants completed the newly developed scale, along with measures of general and intentional procrastination, metacognitions about procrastination, and negative affect. Data from the UPS were subjected to confirmatory factor analysis and revised accordingly. The UPS was then validated using correlation and regression analyses. The six-item UPS possesses construct and divergent validity and good internal consistency. The UPS appears to be a stronger marker of psychopathology than the pre-existing measures of procrastination used in this study. Results from the regression models suggest that both negative affect and metacognitions about procrastination differentiate between general, intentional, and unintentional procrastination. The UPS is brief, has good psychometric properties, and has strong associations with negative affect, suggesting it has value as a research and clinical tool.

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