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Procrastination in College Students

This is a scientific review of the research conducted by Haycock, McCarthy and Skay on the relation between procrastination in college students and self-efficacy and anxiety. The aim of the study was to establish the relation that exists between efficacy expectations, gender and procrastination. The study hypothesized that procrastination’s strongest predictors would be efficacy expectations; that is, they would have an inverse relation with procrastination. Another hypothesis was that the next strongest predictor after efficacy expectations would be anxiety.

Concerning the participants, the study included 141 college student volunteers. The gender ratio of men to women was 87:54. The students were specifically those who had enrolled in one of the major universities in the Midwestern. Out of the total number, 79% comprised of those who were pursuing a course related to study skills and learning, while the remaining 21% were those taking a course counseling procedures. It however excluded the counseling major students. Those specifically considered were between the age of 18 and 54. The whites were the majority; contributing 86 percent followed by the people of color who formed 14 percent. The Blacks and the Hispanics contributed to 4 percent each.

On its methodology, the study considered the use of questionnaire tool. The participants were given to fill in the questionnaires during a normal class time. Even though 143 students participated in filling in the questionnaires, only 141 filled questionnaires were considered useful to the study. The study also considered a number of models in the measurement of its variables. The level of efficacy was obtained by measuring the level of the possibility of students accomplishing certain tasks within given time frames. The respondents were requested to indicate their various degrees of confidence of the possibility of accomplishing such tasks. The options ranged from 0 to 100, in which 0 implied that one had a great uncertainty, while 100 represented complete uncertainty. On the other hand, the Form G of the Procrastination Inventory was used to measure procrastination. The inventory provided the participants with a total of 20 items with forced choices. The items were majorly those concerned with general behaviors people experience in their daily lives, like answering a phone call. Here, any response that could be associated with procrastination was given a score of 1. On the other hand, those which had no association with procrastination were given a score of 2. Equally, the level of anxiety was measured using the Spielberg State-Trait Anxiety Inventory which had 20 item scales and was composed of both the Trait scale and the State Scale allowing it to measure both the stable individual differences in the tendency to be anxious and the level of anxiety resulting from one’s response to a given stimuli.

The study also considered the use of number of both primary and secondary variables. The primary variables included self-efficacy, procrastination, anxiety and gender. Self-efficacy was considered useful in assessing the behaviors which are related to the possibility of a person to accomplish a task considered to be both important and difficult within a fixed timeframe. Another variable was procrastination, which was measured using Form G of the Procrastination Inventory that had been modified. The third variable was anxiety, which was measured using the Spielberg State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. Finally, the study also considered the demographic properties of the participants as its secondary variables. The specific demographic variables considered include age, ethnicity, student status, sex, relationship status, income, educational level, and employment status.

The study came up with a number of findings. For example, concerning the differences in efficacy, anxiety and procrastination within different demographic characteristics, the study found no significant differences. On the other hand, when zero order correlations for scores on the three primary variables were calculated, it was revealed that there was a significant relation between procrastination scores and anxiety and self-efficacy. However, procrastination was not found to have any relation with sex and age. Equally, the level of multicollinearity between procrastination efficacy and anxiety variables ranged from moderate to high levels. Finally, the effect of the strength of cumulative efficacy negated the predictive power of the anxiety, the efficacy level and the average efficacy strength. This was as a result of the high level of intercorrelations of all the predictors.

In addition, the study had a number of limitations. The first limitation was based on the fact that the selection of samples was done non-randomly. Most of the participants were Whites thus the representation was poor. The result could thus have failed to give a clear picture of the real situation in the university. Moreover, the data did not reflect the behavioral aspect of the self-perception of the participants.

In conclusion, based on such limitations and various insights resulting from the study, the researchers pointed out to the need for further research in a number of areas. The first is the need for a research, which considers a number of different samples. This would increase the possibility of getting more diverse responses. As long as the study was focused only on a given aspect of the theory of self-efficacy, there is also the need for other future researchers to include other aspects like outcome expectations. In addition, since the study majorly limited itself to tasks involving certain types of academic procrastination, there is a need for further studies in which other tasks are considered. Moreover, there is a need for studies which can put more emphasis on the way in which self-efficacy and self-esteem uniquely contribute to procrastination. Finally, there is a need for a research which can successfully determine the level of effectiveness of various aspects of self-efficacy in the reduction of procrastination.

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