Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Psychology and Special Education

First Advisor

Nannette Commander

Second Advisor

Laura Frederick

Third Advisor

Dennis Thompson


This dissertation presents a literature review on procrastination and more specifically research involving the domain of academic procrastination, characteristics/traits academic procrastinators exhibit, and two different types of academic procrastinators. Even though a comprehensive theory has not been established, social cognitive theory, attribution theory, and motivation theories contribute to our understanding of academic procrastination. Studies that investigate prevalence of high school and college students who procrastinate in international settings, and more specifically in the United States, are reviewed, along with the literature on the relationship between academic procrastination and achievement. Research has demonstrated with relative consistency that academic procrastination has significant adverse effects on academic progress (Ferrari et al., 2005; Moon & Illingworth, 2005) and that high percentages of undergraduate college students self-report they engage in academic procrastination (Steel, 2007).

The literature review is followed by an investigation that utilizes an adapted version of the Procrastination Assessment Scale-Students (Özer & Ferrari, 2011), a self-report instrument, to measure students’ academic procrastination. The purpose of this study was to investigate (a) the percentage of undergraduate college and high school students who self-report academic procrastination; (b) the frequency of academic procrastination among undergraduate college and high school students for the specific academic tasks of studying for exams, completing reading assignments, and writing papers; and (c) the relationship between academic procrastination and achievement of undergraduate college and high school students. Both on specific tasks and overall, significantly more college students report higher procrastination than high school students. Unexpectedly, this study did not find a significant relationship between academic procrastination and academic achievement, as measured by grade point average. This study highlights the importance of considering students’ age when examining academic procrastination.