Out of Sight, Out of Time? A Meta-analytic Investigation of Procrastination and Time Perspective


  • Fuschia M. Sirois

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Psychology, Bishop's University, Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada
    • Correspondence to: Fuschia M. Sirois, Department of Psychology, Bishop's University, 2600 College St., Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada J1M 1Z7.

      E-mail: fsirois@ubishops.ca

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Recent theory suggests that trait procrastination is a form of temporal self-regulation failure that reflects a disjunction between the present and future self. Yet research to date is sparse and inconsistent regarding the nature of the associations of procrastination with time perspective. The current study aimed to meta-analytically summarize the evidence to date to address the question of how procrastination is linked to future and present time perspective, and to test whether stress and positive affect explained the link between procrastination and future time perspective. A search of the available literature yielded six published studies and three unpublished studies, which were combined with five unpublished data sets for a total of 14 samples with 4312 participants. The meta-analysis revealed that procrastination had a moderate and significant negative association with future time perspective, and a small but significant positive association with present time perspective. Mediation analyses across two of the samples found that high stress and low positive affect explained in part the association between procrastination and future time perspective. Overall, these findings support the notion that procrastinators focus less on the future and highlight the dynamic interrelations of affect and cognition that underlie procrastinators' intertemporal choices. Copyright © 2014 European Association of Personality Psychology