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Giving in when feeling less good: Procrastination, action control, and social temptations

Sirois, Fuschia M.; Giguère, Benjamin


Benjamin Giguère


Emotion-regulation perspectives on procrastination highlighting the primacy of short-term mood regulation focus mainly on negative affect. Positive affect, however, has received much less attention and has not been considered with respect to social temptations. To address this issue, we examined how trait procrastination was linked to positive and negative affect in the context of social temptations across two prospective studies. Action Control Theory, Personality Systems Interactions Theory, and a mood regulation theory of procrastination served as guiding conceptual frameworks. In Study 1, moderated mediation analyses revealed that low positive affect explained the link between trait procrastination and time spent procrastinating on academic tasks over a 48-hr period in a student sample (N = 142), and this effect was moderated by the presence of social temptations. Parallel results for goal enjoyment assessed at Time 2 were found in Study 2 with a community sample (N = 94) attempting to make intended health behaviour changes over a 6-month period. Our findings indicate that procrastinators are at risk for disengaging from intended tasks when social temptations are present and positive task-related affect is low.

Journal Article Type Article
Online Publication Date Feb 17, 2018
Publication Date 2018
Deposit Date Jul 4, 2022
Journal British Journal of Social Psychology
Print ISSN 0144-6665
Publisher Wiley
Volume 57
Issue 2
Public URL