Procrastinators and fear of failure: an exploration of reasons for procrastination


  • Henri C. Schouwenburg

    Corresponding author
    1. University of Groningen, The Netherlands
    • University of Groningen, Department of Student Support, Visserstraat 47, 9712 CT Groningen, The Netherlands
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Procrastination, the act or tendency of putting things off that should be done today until tomorrow, has recently become a field of interest in the study of academic underachievement. In constructing tests for the measurement of procrastination, and in comparing test scores with self-attributions of reasons for procrastination, an unexpected discrepancy has been observed between fear of failure as a prominent reason for procrastination and test fear of failure being unrelated to procrastination. This study was meant to clarify this discrepancy. Students who procrastinate generally endorse many reasons for procrastination simultaneously. For some relatively homogeneous groups of students fear of failure is one of these reasons. Other groups of students do not attribute procrastination to fear of failure at all. For the sample as a whole, procrastination and fear of failure appear unrelated. However, trait procrastination and fear of failure may interact and result in increased levels of actualprocrastinatory behaviour.