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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2016  |  Volume : 37  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 70-78

Causal attributions and executive functions of academic procrastination in Mansoura University students


Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, Mansoura University, Mansoura, Egypt

Correspondence Address:
Youmna Sabri
Lecturer of Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, Mansoura University, Mansoura
Egypt
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1110-1105.193010

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Background Academic procrastination is the irrational delay in the beginning or completion of an academic task within the desired time frame. It has many negative consequences on students, for example, wasting time, loss of opportunities, decreased productivity, and lack of success in addition to serious emotional and health problems. Aim The purpose of this study was to assess procrastination among a sample of college students in different academic areas, identify the possible reasons of this behavior, and examine the role of causal attributions and various executive functions (EFs) of students in academic procrastination. Participants and methods Eighty college students from Mansoura University participated in this study and were diagnosed by the staff members of the Committee of Postponing Exams in the Department of Psychiatry using Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th ed., text revision. After being diagnosed, they were asked to complete three questionnaires; the Procrastination Assessment Scale-Students, Executive Skills Questionnaire, and the Causal Dimension Scale II. Results The results show that the age of the procrastinating students ranges between 18 and 32 years. The men (n= 48) represent 60% of the procrastinators. Most of the students procrastinate during the second and third years of their college study (30 and 32.5%, respectively). Students from the Faculty of Engineering represent 25% of the procrastinators. The commonest psychiatric diagnosis among the procrastinating students is obsessive compulsive disorder (27.5%), followed by malingering (17.5%), and generalized anxiety disorder (12.5%). Reasons of procrastination, for example, aversiveness of the task and low frustration tolerance, tendency to feel overwhelmed and poor time management, and peer influence, have significant positive correlation (P ≤ 0.01) with procrastination among students. Several EFs have a significant negative correlation (P ≤ 0.001) with presence of procrastination among students, for example, working memory, organization, time management, emotional control, task initiation, and sustained attention and flexibility. Finally, locus of causality and stability have a significant positive correlation (P ≤ 0.001) with procrastination among students, whereas personal control has a highly significant negative correlation (P ≤ 0.001), with the presence of procrastination among students. There are 11 significant predictors of procrastination, for example, difficulty in making decision, dependency and help seeking, laziness, anxiety, rebellion against control, fear of success, response inhibition, sustained attention, metacognition, goal-directed persistence, and external control. Conclusion and recommendations Procrastination is more common among male students with obsessive compulsive disorder. Several EFs, for example, working memory, organization, time management, emotional control, task initiation, and flexibility as well as locus of causality, stability, and personal control are impaired among procrastinating students and significantly correlated with the occurrence of procrastination. Finally, many variables can be considered as predictors of procrastination among students, for example, difficulty in making decision, dependency and help seeking, laziness, anxiety, rebellion against control, fear of success, response inhibition, sustained attention, metacognition, goal-directed persistence, and external control. All previous data represent cues for the development of strategies among students to prevent the aggravation of this problem.


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