2012 Differences in Procrastination and Motivation between Undergraduate and Graduate Students

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Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, Vol. 12, No.2, June 2012, pp. 39-64. Differences in procrastination and motivation between undergraduate and graduate students Li Cao1Abstract: Procrastination became increasingly prevalent among students in recent years. However, little research was found that directly compares academic procrastination across different academic grade levels.Thepresent study used a self-regulated learning perspective to compare procrastination types and associated motivation betweenundergraduate and graduate students. Sixty-six undergraduate and sixty-eight graduate students responded to a packet of questionnaires concerning their experience in an educational psychology class. The results show that students’ beliefs about the usefulness of procrastination were a better predictor of academic procrastination than self-efficacy beliefs and achievement goal orientations. Student age was related to procrastination types. Among the undergraduate procrastinators, the younger students were more likely to engage in active procrastination while the older students tended to engage in passive procrastination. Implications and future research directions are discussed. Keywords: procrastination, motivation, self-regulated learning, college students I. Introduction. Despite considerable research describing negative consequences, procrastination has become increasingly prevalent among university students in recent years (Harriort & Ferrari, 1996; Knaus, 2000; Steel, 2007). Procrastination refers to the lack or absence of self-regulated performance and the behavioral tendency to postpone what is necessary to reach a goal (Knaus, 2000). Procrastination has long been viewed as a self-handicapping behavior that leads to wasted time, increased stress, and poor academic performance (Özer, 2011; Solomon & Rothblum, 1984; Tice & Baumeister, 1997; Wang & Englander, 2010). Research demonstrates that academic procrastination impacts both undergraduate and graduate students. Over 70% of undergraduate students admitted to procrastinating on their academic tasks (Ellis & Knaus, 1977; Schouwenburg, 1995), while more than 50% of them procrastinated consistently and problematically (Day, Mensink, & O’Sullivan, 2000; Ferrari, O’Callaghan, & Newbegin, 2005). Most recently, Klassen, et al. (2010) reported that about 58% of their undergraduate participants “report[ed] spending three hours or more per day in procrastination” (p. 372). Solomon and Rothblum (1984) found that undergraduate students procrastinated more often when writing term papers (46%) than when reading weekly assignments (30%) and studying for examinations (28%); and that (self-reported) fear of failure and task aversiveness were the two main reasons why undergraduate students procrastinated. Research shows that undergraduate student procrastination is related to gender, laziness, and difficulty in making decisions (Özer, Demir, & Ferrari, 2009; Schouwenbury, 2004), perfectionism and control 1Department of Educational Innovation University of West Georgia, 1601 Maple Street Carrollton, GA 30118, phone (678)-839-6118, fax (678)-839-6153, E-mail: [email protected]
Cao, L.

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