THE ANTECEDENTS AND CONSEQUENCES OF ACADEMIC EXCUSE-MAKING: Examining Individual Differences in Procrastination

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Students from two colleges (n = 546) differing in admission selectivity completed measures of academic procrastination and excuses. Procrastination was higher among students at the selective college than students at the nonselective college. Academic procrastination was motivated by task aversiveness for students at the selective college and by fear of task failure and fear of social disapproval for students at the nonselective college. At the nonselective college only, procrastinators compared to nonprocrastinators reported more often using both legitimate and fraudulent excuses in college and during the current semester. Participants reported that excuses were self-generated for the purpose of gaining more assignment time and that most instructors did not require proof for excuses. The characteristics of courses and instructors likely to promote excuse-making by both procrastinators and nonprocrastinators also were examined. These results reflect the need by administrators and personnel to consider individual and situational differences when implementing student-centered intervention programs.

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