The nature of procrastination: a meta-analytic and theoretical review of quintessential self-regulatory failure

Psychol Bull. 2007 Jan;133(1):65-94. doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.133.1.65.


Procrastination is a prevalent and pernicious form of self-regulatory failure that is not entirely understood. Hence, the relevant conceptual, theoretical, and empirical work is reviewed, drawing upon correlational, experimental, and qualitative findings. A meta-analysis of procrastination's possible causes and effects, based on 691 correlations, reveals that neuroticism, rebelliousness, and sensation seeking show only a weak connection. Strong and consistent predictors of procrastination were task aversiveness, task delay, self-efficacy, and impulsiveness, as well as conscientiousness and its facets of self-control, distractibility, organization, and achievement motivation. These effects prove consistent with temporal motivation theory, an integrative hybrid of expectancy theory and hyperbolic discounting. Continued research into procrastination should not be delayed, especially because its prevalence appears to be growing.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Decision Making*
  • Humans
  • Self Efficacy*
  • Social Control, Informal*
  • Time Factors
  • Time Perception*