Active and Passive Procrastination of University Students Enrolled in Writing Courses Across Varying Course Delivery Models

Open Access
Wang, Jianan
Graduate Program:
Educational Psychology
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
October 24, 2013
Committee Members:
  • Rayne Audrey Sperling, Thesis Advisor
  • Self-Regulated Learning
  • Active Procrastination
  • Academic Achievement
This research aimed to extend the understanding of procrastination behaviors, with focus on the discussion of a debatable construct, active procrastination, as a distinctive form of procrastination that incorporates aspects of self-regulated learning and may lead to successful academic performance. The majority of past literature focused solely on the dysfunctional aspects of procrastination behavior, and regarded it as a manifestation of self-regulatory failure or as a self-handicapping strategy. However, some studies reported that high achieving individuals are also found to engage in procrastination behaviors, although they are assumed to be better self-regulators. Based upon these findings, some researchers queried that a different form of procrastination behavior might exist, and more likely to be found among high-achieving individuals. In line with this hypothesis, this thesis examined the active procrastination construct by analyzing reports of undergraduate students enrolled in writing courses of different class settings. Four validated instruments were adopted in this study to measure students’ procrastination tendency, self-regulated learning, and self-handicapping tendency. Students’ performance outcomes as indicated by their assignment scores and their GPA were also analyzed. Anchored reports of task completion in relation to deadlines coupled with students’ assignment submission times were also collected along with other data, but not included in the current analysis. Results showed no differences in reported procrastination across class settings in terms of online versus social class environment. Yet as expected, students who enrolled in the honor’s class reported higher active procrastination tendencies than non-honor students. The associations between active procrastination and self-regulated learning were significant and in the expected direction for self-efficacy, text anxiety and effort regulation subscales of the MSLQ. As hypothesized, reported active procrastination was not correlated with self-handicapping but yielded a surprising negative correlation with the PASS score. Also as expected, active procrastination was positively related to both GPA and paper score. The associations between active procrastination and other variables were not statistically significant. Additional analyses were conducted to examine between group differences based on students’ procrastination patterns and their performance level. Findings lend partial support for the active procrastination construct. Result of procrastination patterns failed to find supporting evidence for the hypothesis that active procrastinators are different from their passive peers in self-handicapping tendency and aspects of self-regulated learning. However, the result of students’ performance level supported that students with higher academic achievement would also report higher active procrastination tendencies. Results of this study corresponded to the mixed findings of previous literature about active procrastination. At the end of the paper, implications and limitations were also discussed.