From Task Avoidance to Task Engagement: A Project-Analytic Perspective on the Role of Mood-Repair, Irrational Beliefs and Preference Reversal in Procrastination

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Chowdhury, Shamarukh Farhana




The goal of this research is to examine self-regulation failure in procrastination through affect (i.e., mood-repair process) and maladaptive cognitions (i.e., irrational beliefs). Using Personal Project Analysis (PPA), specific affective and cognitive dimensions of PPA were selected from previous studies to examine mood-repair process and irrational beliefs. My dissertation research consisted of six studies that were quantitative (self-report questionnaires) and qualitative (interviews) in nature. In the first two studies, I examined the underlying factors of emotions associated with procrastination using a principal component analysis (Study 1a) and a confirmatory factor analysis (Study 1b). Results revealed a 3-factor solution consisting of a single factor of positive affect (e.g., happy, content), and two factors of negative emotions namely frustration intolerance (e.g., frustration, resentment) and fear of failure (e.g., stress, fear of failure). Using these three factors of emotions, I examined two time segments of procrastination in the subsequent studies - the procrastination episodes (i.e., episodes when they needlessly delayed their academic task) and the last-minute effort episodes (i.e., episodes when they started working on their academic task). In Study 2, I took a dual-process perspective to examine the interplay of emotions and cognitions during the procrastination episodes. Results of the quantitative (Study 2a) and qualitative (Study 2b) revealed strong support for the temporal mood-repair model of procrastination, and the idea that mood-repair and irrational justifications is associated with the delay of academic tasks. In Study 3, I investigated preference reversal, that is, why students move from not taking actions on their academic task during the procrastination episodes to taking actions near the deadlines, through the lens of emotions. Results of the quantitative (Study 3a) and qualitative (Study 3b) uncovered that procrastinating students perceive their academic deadlines as signalling a threat when the deadlines are looming and as such, students chose to complete the academic tasks near the deadline. Together, the present results indicate the need for an emotion-cognitive model of procrastination given that both affective and cognitive processes are intertwined in shaping procrastination experiences.


Psychology - Behavioral
Psychology - Cognitive
Psychology - Experimental




Carleton University

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