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  An Examination of the Effects of Trait Self-Control on Self-Control Strategies and Procrastination among University Students

Abstract

The present study examined the relationship of the personality trait of self-control to the personality trait of procrastination and the use of self-control strategies in academic situations. A 30-item online questionnaire was administered to 103 participants. The results indicated that self-control was positively related to the selection of self-control strategies. Specifically, people with high self-control were more likely to choose situational strategies, whereas people with low self-control were more likely to choose cognitive strategies. These findings are consistent with the process model of self-control (Duckworth, Gendler, & Gross, 2014). Whereas it was also predicted that self-control would be directly related to procrastination, a significant indirect correlation was found. Methodological limitations such as non-randomisation of question order are considered, in addition to the possibility of mediators between the constructs of self-control and procrastination.

Keywords: self-control, self-control strategy, procrastination, self-regulation, process model of self-control, impulse response

 

An Examination of the Effects of Trait Self-Control on Self-Control Strategies and Procrastination among University Students

Self-Control

Self-control is one of the most widely studied constructs in psychological literature; Duckworth (2011) found that the concept appeared in 3 percent of peer-viewed articles in 2010. Tangney, Baumeister, and Boone (2004, p. 275) define self-control as “the ability to override or change one’s inner responses, as well as to interrupt undesired behavioural tendencies and refrain from acting on them”. Tangney et al. (2004) found that self-control was positively correlated with agreeableness, conscientiousness, and emotional stability. Tangney et al. (2004) found that high self-control correlated highly with several indicators of well-being and psychological adjustment, including higher grade point average, better relationships and interpersonal skills, secure attachment, more optimal emotional responses, and fewer reports of psychopathology, binge eating, and alcohol abuse. This is consistent with previous research which pointed to a wide range of positive psychological, behavioural, and academic outcomes associated with self-control (e.g., Baumeister, Heatherton, & Tice, 1994; Eisenberg et al., 1997; Wolfe & Johnson, 1995). The researchers suggested that self-control might be better conceived as self-regulation, “the ability to regulate the self strategically in response to goals, priorities, and environmental demands” (Tangney et al., 2004, p. 314). In reviewing the literature on self-control, Duckworth (2011) proposes that self-control is only related to positive outcomes, and that there is no such thing as too much self-control.

Another definition of self-control states that it is “the voluntary regulation of conflicting thoughts, feelings, and actions in accordance with long-term goals” (Duckworth, White, Matteucci, Shearer & Gross, 2016, p. 329). This definition posits self-control as an aspect of motivational, or intentional and goal-directed, behaviour. In a meta-analysis of the convergent validity of self-control constructs, Duckworth and Kern (2011) conclude that the common concepts of various definitions include those of self-volition and the pursuit of personal goals. Alternately, construal-level theories of self-control assume that how individuals construe a situation is critical to how they process information about self-control conflicts and automatically facilitates self-control without conscious deliberation (Fujita & Carnevale, 2012; Fujita & Han, 2009). Duckworth et al. (2016) are interested in the distinction between commitment to a goal and volition, or the degree to which an individual is effective at striving toward this goal. A self-control dilemma, which involves a conflict between short-term and long-term reward, requires autonomous regulation to engage self-control. In academic situations, self-control should be required to override the impulse to engage in distracting behaviour instead of studying for a test or working on a project that is due.

Self-Control Strategies

According to the process model of self-control, the individual develops response tendencies or impulses, which vary in intensity according to a situation-attention-appraisal-response sequence (Duckworth, Gendler, & Gross, 2014). When there is a conflict between two impulses, the individual must select a self-control strategy to diminish the strength of one. The earlier one intervenes in impulse generation, the more effective the intervention. Duckworth et al. (2016) postulated the existence of five distinct self-control strategies.

Two situational strategies operate on situation, the first stage of impulse generation. Situational selection strategies involve intentionally putting oneself in situations that facilitate self-control (Duckworth et al., 2016). For example, adults who have high trait self-control habitually avoid situations of temptation (Ent, Baumeister, & Tice, 2015). For an under-aged student, an example would be avoiding a party they known there will be alcohol or drugs.  Situation modification strategies require intentionally changing the situation to facilitate self-control (Duckworth et al., 2016). For example, a student might disable social media applications that might be distracting while doing homework or studying.

Cognitive strategies involve an intentional change in thinking or perception (Duckworth et al., 2016). Attentional deployment strategies operate during the stage of attention, to focus attention on features of a situation that increase the strength of desired impulses and/or decrease the strength of undesired impulses (Duckworth et al., 2016). For example, someone on a diet who is confronted by a buffet might consciously look at healthy choices while looking away from unhealthy choices. Cognitive change strategies, high-effort tactics which operates at the stage of appraisal, involve thinking differently about the situation (Duckworth et al., 2016). For example, if someone speaks to another rudely, the second person could try to think about why that person is in a bad mood, to avoid responding angrily.  Response modulation strategies, which are also high-effort and operate at the stage of response, consist of the voluntary suppression of an undesired response and/or amplification of a desired response (Duckworth et al., 2016). An example is reaching for a bottle of water instead of an alcoholic drink.

Duckworth et al. (2016) examined self-control strategies of high school and college students in three different studies. In the first study, when presented with three different situations in which they might be tempted to be distracted from reaching an academic goal, high school students rated situational selection as the most effective strategy, followed by situational modification, with all three cognitive strategies rated the same. In the second and third studies, high school and college students who were randomly assigned to implement situational modification strategies were better able to reach their study goals than those who were assigned to implement response modification or controls who were assigned no strategy at all. These results suggest that situational self-control strategies require less effort and are therefore more effective than cognitive self-control strategies. Nonetheless, when students described strategies they use in everyday life, they were less likely to choose situational self-control.

Procrastination

Procrastination refers to “the tendency to postpone that which is necessary to reach some goal” (Lay, 1986, p. 475). Lay et al. (1986) found that procrastination was positively correlated with disorganisation, negative responses to the stress of ongoing personal projects, and sensitivity to how enjoyable one perceives a project to be.  Procrastination has been linked with the personality trait of perfectionism, which Fee and Tangney (2000) explain is due to a failure to adapt to situational demands and a breakdown in self-regulation. Tangney et al. (2004) found that self-control was not correlated with perfectionism. Roberts, Chernyshenko, Startk, and Goldberg (2005) performed confirmatory factor analyses and criterion validation on the trait of conscientiousness and listed the most important factor as responsibility, defined as “the diligent fulfilment of objectives”, which they stated was the opposite of procrastination. In a study relating self-reported executive function to academic procrastination in college students, Rabin, Fogel, and Nutter-Upham (2011) reported that academic procrastination was predicted by lower conscientiousness in addition to “the executive function domains of initiation, plan/organize, inhibit, self– monitor, working memory, task monitor, and organization of materials”.

In a meta-analysis of studies exploring factors related to procrastination, Steel (2007, p. 65) found that the strongest and most consistent predictors of procrastination were “task aversiveness, task delay, self-efficacy, impulsiveness, as well as conscientiousness and its facets of self-control, distractibility, organization, and achievement motivation”. Steel (2007) concluded that procrastination is the result of a failure of self-regulation. In contrast, a meta-analysis of 21 studies examining facets of self-discipline including self-control, organisation, and planning indicated an average correlation of -.58 to procrastination (Steel, 2007). Schouwenberg’s (1995) factor analysis also suggests that low self-discipline may be equivalent to trait procrastination or may cause procrastination behaviour. Schouwenberg and Lay’s (1995) factor analysis found that Procrastination was related to lack of Trait Conscientiousness on the Revised NEO Personality Inventory, and specifically was related to lower scores on each of the six facets of Consciousness. Similarly, Tice and Baumeister (1997) found that procrastinators are more likely to favour short-term over long-term benefits, indicating poor self-regulation (Tice & Baumeister, 1997). Together, these factor analysis studies indicate that procrastination is closely tied to low conscientiousness and self-regulatory facets of self-control.

The Present Research

Duckworth et al. (2016) did not discuss how personality differences (e.g., trait self-control) could affect the selection of strategy. The present study draws upon Tangney et al.’s (2004) measurement of trait self-control and Lay’s (1986) measurement of trait procrastination. It then combines these into one questionnaire that includes Duckworth et al.’s (2016) three academic distractor situations in addition to a challenge question that asks participants to give an example of a self-control situation they recently faced, and which self-control strategy they employed.

The aim of this research was to investigate how individuals control their behaviour in different situations and how self-control strategies affect procrastination. The objectives were to determine whether people with high self-control traits choose a specific type of self-control strategy when there is a self-control task and to determine whether people with high self-control procrastinate less than people with low self-control.

Specifically, there were three hypotheses: (1) individuals with high self-control traits will use situation selection and situation modification self-control strategies when they face a situation that requires self-control; (2) individuals with low self-control traits will use the cognitive self-control strategies of attentional deployment, cognitive change, and response modulation when they face a situation that requires self-control (3) individuals with high self-control traits will procrastinate less than individuals with low self-control traits.

 

Method

Participants

Participants included were 10 non-students (9.7 percent) and 93 students (90.3 percent), aged 18 and above, studying a variety of subjects. There were 46 males (44.7 percent) and 57 females (55.3 percent). Selected ethnic backgrounds included 31 White (30.1 percent), 21 Black or African American (20.4 percent), and 51 Asian (49.5 percent). The mean age was 20.91 (ST = 1.502), with ages ranging from 18 to 30 years.

Design

This study employed a within-subjects correlational design. The independent variable was Self-Control (SC). The dependent variables were Procrastination (P) and Self-Control Strategy (5 types).

Questionnaire Scales

An online questionnaire study was designed to include four separate parts, which took approximately 10 to 15 minutes to complete in total. The 30-item questionnaire was completed via the online survey software Qualtrics. All participants completed the same questionnaire items in the same order. The complete questionnaire and information materials are included in Appendix B.

Demographic questions. Participants were asked their age, gender, student status, and ethnic background. These were used for descriptive purposes and to confirm student status and age of 18 and over. The questionnaire would not proceed if students replied with an age under 18.

Self-Control Scale. The Self-Control Scale was designed by Tangney et al. (2004). to measure the personality trait of self-control in the general population. Tangney et al. (2004) reported that the reliability, validity, internal consistency, and test-retest reliability of both the full version and brief 13-item version were good to high.

The full length 36-item survey is answered on a 5-point Likert scale, where 1= Not at all and 5= Very much. Of these, several items are reverse-scored. The Brief Scale contains 13 items, of which 10 were included for this study. An example item indicating high self-control states, “I am good at resisting temptation”. An example reverse-scored item indicating low self-control states, “I am lazy”. After transforming scores, each participant’s total score for these 10 items was used to measure their Self-Control. A high score indicates a trait of high self-control.

Self-control Strategy/Challenge. Duckworth et al. (2016) developed the Self-Control Strategy/Challenge to categorise the self-control strategies that students would choose when given three different hypothetical examples or when providing their own real-life example. The participant is instructed to imagine being in each given situation and “think about which strategy you would be most likely to use to help yourself to succeed. The 5 choices each align with one of the 5 self-control strategies conceptualised in Duckworth et al.’s (2016) process model of self-control: (1) situation selection, (2) situation modification, (3) attentional deployment, (4) cognitive change, or (5) response modulation. For 3 items, the participant was required to list the answers in order from 1 to 5, where 1= Most likely to use this strategy and 5= Will not use this strategy at all. For these items, the answer listed as number 1 was coded as the selected strategy. For 1 item, the participant is instructed to “Please describe an incident from your personal lives in which you needed self-control and please indicate what you actually did?” For this item, the researcher read each short-answer and coded it according to one of the 5 strategies.

Procrastination Scale. The Procrastination Scale was designed by Lay (1986) to measure the degree to which individuals habitually procrastinate. The scale was developed based on a previous two-form scale developed by Lay (1985) based on the construct as conceptualised by Jackson (1970) (Cited in Lay, 1986, p. 475). Factor analysis was then used in three separate studies to narrow 20 items down to 9. This scale has been used to measure procrastination in a variety of academic situations (e.g., Flett, Blankstein, Hewitt, & Koledin; Lay, 1988; Lay, Edwards, Parker, & Endler, 1989). Ferrari (1989) found that the scale had high test-retest reliability and acceptable temporal stability.

There are 9 items, which are answered on a 5-point Likert scale, where 1 = False, 2 = Not usually true for me, 3 = Sometimes false/true for me, 4 = Mostly true for me, and 5 = True of me. An example of an item indicating high procrastination states, “I generally delay before starting work I have to do”. An example of a reverse-scored question indicating low procrastination states, “I usually accomplish all the things I plan to do in a day”.  After transforming scores, each participant’s total score for these 9 items was used to measure their Self-Control. A high score indicates a high degree of procrastination.

 

Procedure and Ethical Issues

This research is in full compliance with the British Psychological Society’s (2010) Code of Human Research Ethics, and ethical approval was obtained from the School of Psychology before proceeding. To ensure anonymity, questionnaires were completed anonymously and returned indirectly, with results identifiable only by a unique code which was stored securely and separately from the data. All research records are held in accordance with data protection guidelines.

Participants were initially contacted with a recruitment email or via social media, containing a link to the study. This email states that the study examines “what kind of strategy could improve individual self-control ability”. By following this link, they were directed to the information sheet and consent form. The Participant Information Sheet, which included the names and contact information for the student researchers and project supervisor, informed participants of the nature of the study. (It states that the survey measures “the relationship between personality factors and the strategies people use in situations that require self-control”.) It also informed participants all data was anonymised and confidential, that there were no risks involved, and that they had the right to withdraw at any time. It further stated that once data gathering was complete, they would receive an email with a debriefing and at that time they would be given the option to withdraw their data. Consenting to participate in the study was affirmed by clicking a box indicating, “Yes I understand”. Participants were then directed to the questionnaire. Participants were able to complete this wherever they had access to the internet.

Results

A one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) was performed on the independent factor of Self-Control, with dependent variables of Total Procrastination Score and each of the five Self-Control Strategy selections for the three hypothetical situations and the free choice short-answer challenge. A post-hoc Bonferroni alpha (.05) correction was made to account for the multiple hypotheses. The Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS, Version 21) software was used to conduct the analysis, in accordance with the guidance produced by Field (2013).   Descriptive Statistics

Total SC ranged from 17 to 43, with a mean score of 29.63 (SD = 6.989), as shown in Table 1 (Appendix A). The descriptive statistics for each dependent variable, which will be discussed in further detail below, are shown in Tables 2 and 4 (Appendix A, discussed in separate sections below). Additionally, means plots were calculated to show the relationship between SC and each dependent variable (Figures, shown in text below).

Effects of Self-Control on Self-Control Strategy

Because of the nominal nature of the variables, each situation had to be analysed separately for each choice of strategy. Table 2 shows the descriptive statistics for self-control strategy, and Table 3 shows the ANOVA. These tables are included in Appendix A and discussed further in each section below.

Situation One. The first situation stated: “You have set a goal of getting better grades this year than last year. Unfortunately, you’re having difficulty staying focused on your studying for long periods of time because you keep texting with your friends.”  The mean response shows that overall, situation modification was selected first, followed by attentional deployment second, situation selection third, cognitive change fourth, and response modulation fifth.

 (1) Situation selection. This choice read, “Lock myself in a room without my phone so that it doesn’t become a distraction”.  The overall mean for this strategy was 2.83 (SD = 1.403). There was a significant main effect of self-control on selection of this strategy (SS = 96.087, df = 24, MS = 4.004, F = 2.981, p = .000). The means plot (Figure 1.1) shows a decreasing slope, indicating that those with higher SC are more likely to rate this strategy first or second than those with lower SC.

Figure 1.1. Means Plot of Self-Control and Use of Situation Selection in Situation One

(2) Situation modification. This choice read, “I would shut off my phone and put it under my pillow so I wouldn’t be tempted to touch it”. The overall mean for this strategy was 2.30 (SD = 1.399). There was a significant main effect of self-control on selection of this strategy (SS = 100.116, df = 24, MS = 4.171, F = 3.268, p = .000). The means plot (Figure 1.2) shows a decreasing slope, indicating that those with higher SC are more likely to rate this strategy first or second than those with lower SC.

Figure 1.2. Means Plot of Self-Control and Use of Situation Modification in Situation One

(3) Attentional deployment. This choice read, “Ease off the texting by ignoring my phone”. The overall mean for this strategy was 2.74          (SD = .970). There was no significant main effect of self-control on selection of this strategy. The means plot (Figure 1.3) is shown below.

Figure 1.3. Means Plot of Self-Control and Use of Attentional Deployment in Situation One

(4) Cognitive change. This choice read, “I would set up a reward for myself . . . I would plan something for myself that I would only do if I got straight A’s”. The overall mean for this strategy was 3.55 (SD = 1.100). There was no significant main effect of self-control on selection of this strategy. The means plot (Figure 1.4) is shown below.

Figure 1.4. Means Plot of Self-Control and Use of Cognitive Change in Situation One

(5) Response modulation. This choice stated, “Not be a baby and just study”. The overall mean for this strategy was 3.58 (SD = 1.666). There was a significant main effect of self-control on selection of this strategy (SS = 168.595, df = 24, MS = 7.025, F = 4.787, p = .000). The means plot (Figure 1.5) shows a positive slope, indicating that those with lower SC were more likely to rate this strategy as their second choice, while those with the highest SC were more likely to pick this strategy last.

Figure 1.5. Means Plot of Self-Control and Use of Response Modulation in Situation One 

Situation Two. The second situation stated, “You have to study for a big exam but the class is a really boring one. Every time you sit down to study, you find yourself tempted to surf the Internet (e.g., watch YouTube videos, check your Instagram feed, etc.) or play video games.” The mean response shows that overall, the first choice was situation selection, followed by attentional deployment, then situation modification, then response modulation, then cognitive change.

(1) Situation selection. This choice stated, “I would go to the library as being in a quiet and controlled environment would make me focus”. The overall mean for this strategy was 1.76 (SD = 1.116). There was no significant main effect of self-control on selection of this strategy. The means plot (Figure 2.1) is shown below.

Figure 2.1. Means Plot of Self-Control and Use of Situation Selection in Situation Two

(2) Situation modification.  This choice stated, “Remove all distractions and tell one of my parents I had a big exam so they would check in on me and I’d be forced to stay on task”. The overall mean for this strategy was 3.06 (SD = 1.514). There was a significant main effect of self-control on selection of this strategy (SS = 139.831, df = 24, MS = 5.826, F = 4.844, p = .000). The means plot (Figure 2.2) shows a negative slope, indicating that those with lower SC were more likely to rate this third, fourth, or fifth, while those with higher SC were more likely to rate this strategy first or second.

Figure 2.2. Means Plot of Self-Control and Use of Situation Modification in Situation Two

(3) Attentional deployment.  This choice stated, “Remind myself that even the most boring classes count towards my GPA which will affect my future”. The overall mean for this strategy was 2.89 (SD = .766). There was no significant main effect of self-control on selection of this strategy. The means plot (Figure 2.3) is shown below.

Figure 2.3. Means Plot of Self-Control and Use of Attentional Deployment in Situation Two

(4) Cognitive change. This choice stated, “I would tell myself that if I study for an hour, I can reward myself by playing video games later”. The overall mean for this strategy was 3.71 (SD = 1.016). There was no significant main effect of self-control on selection of this strategy. The means plots (Figure 2.4) is shown below.

Figure 2.4. Means Plot of Self-Control and Use of Cognitive Change in Situation Two

(5) Response modulation. This choice stated, “Just deal with it and study”. The overall mean for this strategy was 3.58 (SD = 1.587). There was a significant main effect of self-control on selection of this strategy (SS = 156.481, df = 24, MS = 6.520, F = 5.057, p = .000). The means plot (Figure 2.5) shows that both those who had the lowest SC and the highest SC were more likely to pick this strategy last. However, in general, the slope is positive, so that those with lower SC are more likely to pick this strategy first and those with higher SC are more likely to pick this strategy last.

Figure 2.5. Means Plot of Self-Control and Use of Response Modulation in Situation Two 

Situation Three. The third situation stated, “You have a long-term project due and don’t want to wait until the last minute to get it done. But there are a lot of more fun things to do, like playing video games and watching TV”. The mean response shows that overall, the first choice was cognitive change, followed by situation selection, then attentional deployment, then situation modification, then response modulation.

(1) Situation selection. This choice stated, “Lock myself in my room until it’s done, because I don’t have a T.V. let alone a game console in my room”. The overall mean for this strategy was 2.70 (SD = 1.267). There was a significant main effect of self-control on selection of this strategy (SS = 73.511, df = 24, MS = 3.063, F = 2.650, p = .001). The means plot (Fugre 3.1) shows that both those who had the lowest SC and the highest SC were more likely to pick this strategy first. However, the means plot shows a negative slope, indicating that those with lower SC are more likely to rate this strategy as third, fourth, or fifth, while those with higher SC are more likely to rate this strategy as first or second.

Figure 3.1. Means Plot of Self-Control and Use of Situation Selection in Situation Three

(2) Situation modification. This choice stated, “I would ask my mom to take away my phone and other distractions to make sure I can get it done on time”. The overall mean for this strategy was 3.51 (SD = 1.392). There was a significant main effect of self-control on selection of this strategy (SS = 115.194, df = 24, MS = 4.800, F = 4.536, p = .000). The means plot (Figure 3.2) shows one remarkable drop, where SC 30 correlates with this being the first choice. However, in general, there is a negative slope, indicating that those with lower SC are more likely to rate this choice as fourth or fifth, while those with higher SC are more likely to rate this choice as second or third.

Figure 3.2. Means Plot of Self-Control and Use of Situation Modification in Situation Three

(3) Attentional deployment. This choice stated, “Think about the consequences and try my best to close everything else out”. The overall mean for this strategy was 2.94 (SD = .978). There was no significant main effect of self-control on selection of this strategy. The means plot (Figure 3.3) is shown below.

 

Figure 3.3. Means Plot of Self-Control and Use of Attentional Deployment in Situation Three

(4) Cognitive change. This choice stated, “Set goals, break up the project into pieces”. The overall mean for this strategy was 2.24 (SD = 1.361). There was no significant main effect of self-control on selection of this strategy. The means plot (Figure 3.4) is shown below.

Figure 3.4. Means Plot of Self-Control and Use of Cognitive Change in Situation Three

(5) Response modulation. This choice stated, “Just do it . . . I just focus and get my work done”. The overall mean for this strategy was 3.60 (SD = 1.561). There was a significant main effect of self-control on selection of this strategy (SS = 149.427, df = 24, MS = 6.226, F = 4.893, p = .000). The means plot (Figure 3.5) shows a positive slope, indicating that those with lower SC were more likely to rate this strategy as second or third, while those with a higher SC were more likely to rate this strategy last.

Figure 3.5. Means Plot of Self-Control and Use of Response Modulation in Situation Three

Self-control challenge question. Participants gave a variety of examples, the majority pertaining to academic goals and distracting activities such as cell phones, television, and social media. Others gave examples pertaining to exercising or dieting. Several (9) did not specify a strategy and these responses were not analysed; SPSS was programmed to ignore this missing data on a case-by-analysis basis. The overall mean for this strategy was 2.12 (SD = 1.508). There was a significant main effect of self-control on which of the 5 strategies were selected (SS = 76.474, df = 23, MS = 3.325, F = 1.720, p = .043). The means plot (Figure 4.0) shows an overall decreasing slope, which indicates that those with the lowest SC totals were more likely to select strategies with higher codes (i.e., cognitive strategies) while those with the highest SC totals were more likely to select situational strategies. There are a few remarkable peaks where SC = 32 and 38, indicating that there was great variation in the middle ranges of SC.

Figure 4.0. Means Plot of Self-Control and Challenge Code

The descriptive statistics for procrastination are presented in Table 4, and the ANOVA is presented in Table 5 (Appendix A). The mean score for procrastination was 26.42 (SD = 5.229). There was a significant main effect of self-control on procrastination (df = 24, MS = 66.555, F = 4.356, p = .000). Overall, the direction of the correlation is positive: as self-control increases, procrastination (P) increases. However, the means plot (Figure 5.0, below) shows several peaks, most remarkably for the lowest SC score of 17, which correlates with a rather high P score of 30.0 (an outlier; SD = 0). There is then a steep drop: the lowest point is seen where SC 19 = P 20.25 (SD = 14.728). Another peak is shown where SC 23 = P 25.78 (SD = 3.193), dropping again to SC 24 = P 22.5. The next remarkable peak occurs where SC 30 = P 31.0 (an outlier; SD = 0), then the slope continues to rise until SC 41 = P 33.0 (SD = 0.000).

Figure 5.0. Means Plot of Effect of Self-Control on Procrastination

Discussion

Effects of Self-Control on Self-Control Strategy

There were several significant main effects on the ratings of self-control strategies in each situation. Both hypotheses were supported: those with high SC were more likely to rate situational strategies first and second, while those with low SC were more likely to rate cognitive strategies first or second. These results are consistent with Duckworth et al.’s (2014, 2016) process model of self-control, which predicts that individuals who have higher trait SC are more likely to select situational strategies while those with low SC are more likely to select cognitive strategies.  Alternately, the construal-level theory of self-control would predict that self-control strategies would occur automatically without a conscious decision (Fujita & Carnevale, 2012; Fujita & Han, 2009). When looking at the overall mean ratings, there was a different pattern in the rankings for each question, indicating that the average participant changed their strategy selection depending on the context. This partially supports construal-level theory, which predicts that high-level construal (highlighting features common to different contexts) promote self-control relative to low-level construal (highlighting features distinct to different contexts). A future study might include questions requiring participants to identify features that are common and distinct to each of the given contexts.

Situational strategies selection. There was a significant effect of trait SC on selection of situational selection for two or the three SC strategy questions, in addition to the SC Strategy Challenge. There was a significant effect of trait SC on selection of situation modification strategy for each of the three SC strategy questions, in addition to the SC Strategy Challenge. There was a subtle difference between these two strategy types. In situational selection, the students would prevent themselves from accessing the distractions, whereas in situational modification they would make it more difficult to access those distractions.

The second question specified the situational selection of going to the library to study. Although there was no significant effect of SC on this strategy, there was a low mean (1.76) and SD (1.116), indicating that this was a popular choice among all participants.  This was also a very popular example given for the challenge: 20 examples included going to the library to study or work. This may indicate that students in general have recognised that going to the library is the best way to allow themselves to focus on their work and avoid distractions.

Cognitive strategies selection. There was a significant effect on the choice of response modulation for all three SC strategy questions in addition to the SC Strategy Challenge, indicating that this strategy was most likely to be chosen among those with low SC and least likely to be chosen among those with high SC. There was no significant effect of SC on either attentional deployment or cognitive change. The means table shows that the mean hovers around 3 for these choices for all three SC Strategy questions, indicating that most participants rated these among the middle of their choices.

Effects of Self-Control on Procrastination

There was a significant main effect of self-control on procrastination which was in the opposite direction as that predicted: as self-control increased, procrastination increased. This may be due to methodological limitations of the study. Alternately, it may be due to a poor fit of the construct of procrastination to the theoretical model chosen to develop the hypotheses for this study.

One possibility is that the order of the questions could have affected the scores on the Procrastination Scale, which appeared last. Question order effects are among the variables that can affect the quality of data, and these can best be controlled for by randomising the order of questions (Bowling, 2005). Participants were told that the subject of the study was self-control. After rating their own self-control and answering the self-control strategies, this may have made people more aware of their tendencies to procrastinate. When viewed in the light of the literature suggesting self-control is a facet of conscientiousness, people with higher self-control may have become more self-critical than people with lower self-control, leading them to rate themselves as more likely to procrastinate. They also may have attempted to confirm what they thought was the researcher’s hypothesis, as suggested by Orne’s (1962) concept of demand characteristics. One suggestion for the future is to randomise the order of the self-control and procrastination questions. Another approach would be to present participants with tasks that measure procrastination behaviourally rather than by self-ratings.

Another issue may have been the deletion of three items from the Procrastination Scale. The Brief Scale of 13 items has been demonstrated to have similar reliability and validity to the full-length scale. However, the 10-item version employed in the current study has not been previously studied. Any future replication of this study should utilise all 13 items in the Brief Scale.

Relationships between procrastination and self-control have not been directly examined outside of the factor analysis discussed in the literature review. The nature of procrastination as measured by Lay (1986) may not fit well into Duckworth’s (1986) model. Another possibility not addressed by Duckworth et al. (2016) is that strategies used to achieve academic goals may be different from other daily goals such as physical fitness and avoiding risky behaviour. Similarly, behaviours relating to academic procrastination may differ from procrastination behaviour in other domains.

The literature shows unclear findings on the relationship of procrastination to self-control and other personality traits perceived as desirable. Schouwenberg (1995) has proposed that a certain degree of academic procrastination is normal, following a temporal discounting function whereby motivation to resist temptation distracting one from studying or schoolwork gradually increases as a test or due date approaches. When measured by Lay’s (1986) Procrastination Scale, people with high traits procrastination have a steep temporal discounting scale, remaining inactive longer before showing a dramatic increase in action; Schouwenburg and Groenewoud (2001) suggest that this dysfunctional procrastination indicates a behavioural rather than a motivational or intentional problem.

Chu and Choi (2005) propose that procrastination is not always undesirable. They distinguish between passive procrastinators, who fail to act and complete tasks on time, and active procrastinators, who enjoy working under pressure. They demonstrated through a battery of psychological tests that active procrastinators are similar to non-procrastinators in their use and control of time, self-efficacy beliefs, coping styles, and academic performance. These students may be more externally than internally motivated to study and complete projects, and may purposefully organise their schedules so that they must work under the pressure of a deadline. Similarly, Aiely and Wertenbroch’s (2002) series of studies with students suggested that people often self-impose deadlines to overcome their own tendencies to procrastinate; they referred to this as the self-control mechanism of pre-commitment. There was some indication of this in the Self-Control Strategy Challenge: several participants said that they would make a schedule to keep themselves on task in regard to academic goals.

According to the strength model of self-control, individuals have a limited capacity for self-control, so that if they utilise self-control on one task, this causes a state of ego-depletion that will diminish the amount of self-control they have for a later task (Baumeister, Bratslavsky, Muraven & Tice, 1998; Baumeister & Vohs, 2007; Baumeister, Vohs, & Tice, 2007). A meta-analysis by Hagger, Wood, Stiff, and Chatzisarantis (2010) of 83 studies found that ego depletion did have a significant effect on task performance and related outcomes, but also suggested that explanatory factors such as motivation and fatigue should be integrated into the strength model.  The cognitive control perspective of self-control strength places task monitoring at the centre of the construct, with self-control strength, task motivation, and operating processes contributing to effortful performance (Vohs et al., 2008, 2014). Based on this model, Vohs et al. (2014) proposed that decision-making draws upon the same cognitive resources required for self-control and active responding. In a series of studies, Vohs et al. (2014) demonstrated that active decision-making reduced self-control in later tasks. Job, Dweck, and Walton (2010) present an alternating view on these and other findings based on the strength model of self-control. Job et al. (2010) propose that whether ego-depletion occurs depends on the individual’s beliefs regarding their capacity for willpower.  In a manipulation of lay theories about willpower, Job et al. (2010) demonstrated that self-control only diminished when people believed willpower was limited. Then, in a longitudinal field study, Job et al. (2010) demonstrated that theories about willpower predicted changes in eating, procrastination, and self-regulated goal-achievement behaviours.

When viewed through either one of these alternate theories, there is a possibility that either the exercise of self-control in other circumstances, or the beliefs about one’s capacity for self-control, may act as a modifier for the relationship between self-control and procrastination. The current study only examined academic situations without asking about other situations in which students are required to exercise self-control to reach their goals. The varied answers to the SC Challenge question indicated that when students think about exercising self-control, they often think about situations other than academic ones, such as exercising and dieting. The wide variation in the selection of self-control strategies may reflect the need to balance various areas in which the student must exercise self-control. The degree to which the student procrastinates may also vary based on how many goals and distractors the student is currently balancing, in addition to their self-efficacy in regards to exercising self-control. A replication of this study might measure different areas in which the student must exercise self-control, in addition to asking about students’ beliefs about the capacity for self-control (i.e., limited or unlimited).

Conclusion

This novel study found support for the hypothesis that trait self-control would be related to the preference for self-control strategies related to academic achievement. Specifically, individuals with high self-control were more likely to choose situational strategies while individuals with low self-control were more likely to choose cognitive strategies. These findings are consistent with what would be predicted by Duckworth et al.’s (2014, 2016) process model of self-control. It was also found that trait self-control was indirectly related to trait procrastination, which was the opposite of what was predicted. It is suggested that academic procrastination is poorly understood, and that further studies should include possible mediators such as the existence of other requirements on self-control and lay beliefs regarding self-control limits.

References

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Baumeister, R. F., & Vohs, K. D. (2007). Self-regulation, ego depletion, and motivation. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 1(1), 115–128.

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Cochran, J. K., Wood, P. B., Sellers, C. S., Wilkerson, W., & Chamlin, M. B. (1998). Academic dishonesty and low self-control: An empirical test of a general theory of crime. Deviant Behavior, 19, 227–255.

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Tice, D. M., & Baumeister, R. F. (1997). Longitudinal study of procrastination, performance, stress, and health: The costs and benefits of dawdling. Psychological Science, 8, 454-458.

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Vohs, K. D., Baumeister, R. F., Schmeichel, B. J., Twenge, J. M., Nelson, N. M., & Tice, D. M. (2014). Making choices impairs subsequent self-control: a limited-resource account of decision making, self-regulation, and active initiative. Motivation Science, 1(S), 19-42.

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Appendix A

Statistical Tables

Table 1. Descriptive Statistics for Total Self-Control
N Minimum Maximum Mean Std. Deviation
Total SC 103 17 43 29.63 6.989

 

 

Table 2. Descriptive Statistics for Self-Control Strategy by Total Self-Control
N Mean Std. Deviation
“You have set
a goal of getting better grades this year than last year. Unfortunately, you’re having difficulty staying focused on your studying
for long periods of time because you keep texting with your
friends.” – “Lock myself in a room without my phone so that it doesn’t become a distraction.”
103 2.83 1.403
“You have set
a goal of getting better grades this year than last year. Unfortunately, you’re having difficulty staying focused on your studying
for long periods of time because you keep texting with your
friends.” – “I would shut off my phone and put it under my pillow so I wouldn’t be tempted to touch it.”
103 2.30 1.399
“You have set
a goal of getting better grades this year than last year. Unfortunately, you’re having difficulty staying focused on your studying
for long periods of time because you keep texting with your
friends.” – “Ease off the texting by ignoring my phone.”
103 2.74 .970
“You have set
a goal of getting better grades this year than last year. Unfortunately, you’re having difficulty staying focused on your studying
for long periods of time because you keep texting with your
friends.” – “I would set up a reward for myself . . . I would plan something for myself that I would only do if I got straight A’s.”
103 3.55 1.100
“You have set
a goal of getting better grades this year than last year. Unfortunately, you’re having difficulty staying focused on your studying
for long periods of time because you keep texting with your
friends.” – “Not be a baby and just study.”
103 3.58 1.666
“You have to
study for a big exam but the class is a really boring one. Every time
you sit down to study, you find yourself tempted to surf the Internet (e.g., watch YouTube videos, check your Instagram feed,
etc.) or play video games.” – “I would go to the library as being in a quiet and controlled environment would make me focus.”
103 1.76 1.116
“You have to
study for a big exam but the class is a really boring one. Every time
you sit down to study, you find yourself tempted to surf the Internet (e.g., watch YouTube videos, check your Instagram feed,
etc.) or play video games.” – “Remove all distractions and tell one of my parents I had a big exam so they would check in on me and I’d be forced to stay on task.”
103 3.06 1.514
“You have to
study for a big exam but the class is a really boring one. Every time
you sit down to study, you find yourself tempted to surf the Internet (e.g., watch YouTube videos, check your Instagram feed,
etc.) or play video games.” – “Remind myself that even the most boring classes count towards my GPA which will affect my future.”
103 2.89 .766
“You have to
study for a big exam but the class is a really boring one. Every time
you sit down to study, you find yourself tempted to surf the Internet (e.g., watch YouTube videos, check your Instagram feed,
etc.) or play video games.” – “I would tell myself that if I study for an hour, I can reward myself by playing video games later.”
103 3.71 1.016
“You have to
study for a big exam but the class is a really boring one. Every time
you sit down to study, you find yourself tempted to surf the Internet (e.g., watch YouTube videos, check your Instagram feed,
etc.) or play video games.” – “Just deal with it and study.”
103 3.58 1.587
“You have a long-term project due and don’t want to
wait until the last minute to get it done. But there are a lot of more
fun things to do, like playing video games and watching TV.” – “Lock myself in my room until it’s done, because I don’t have a T.V. let alone a game console in my room.”
103 2.70 1.267
“You have a long-term project due and don’t want to
wait until the last minute to get it done. But there are a lot of more
fun things to do, like playing video games and watching TV.” – “I would ask my mom to take away my phone and other distractions to make sure I can get it done on time.”
103 3.51 1.392
“You have a long-term project due and don’t want to
wait until the last minute to get it done. But there are a lot of more
fun things to do, like playing video games and watching TV.” – “Think about the consequences and try my best to close everything else out”
103 2.94 .978
“You have a long-term project due and don’t want to
wait until the last minute to get it done. But there are a lot of more
fun things to do, like playing video games and watching TV.” – “Set goals, break the project up into pieces.”
103 2.24 1.361
“You have a long-term project due and don’t want to
wait until the last minute to get it done. But there are a lot of more
fun things to do, like playing video games and watching TV.” – “Just do it . . . I just focus and get my work done.”
103 3.60 1.561
ChallengeCode 95 2.12 1.508
TotalProcrastination 103 26.42 5.229
Valid N (listwise) 95

 

 

Table 3. ANOVA for Effects of Total Self-Control on Self-Control Strategies
SS df MS F Sig.
Situation One – Situation Selection Between Groups (Combined) 96.087 24 4.004 2.981 .000
Linear Term Weighted 58.021 1 58.021 43.197 .000
Deviation 38.067 23 1.655 1.232 .245
Within Groups 104.767 78 1.343
Total 200.854 102
Situation One – Situation Modification Between Groups (Combined) 100.116 24 4.171 3.268 .000
Linear Term Weighted 54.602 1 54.602 42.781 .000
Deviation 45.513 23 1.979 1.550 .079
Within Groups 99.554 78 1.276
Total 199.670 102
Situation One – Attentional Deployment Between Groups (Combined) 16.225 24 .676 .662 .873
Linear Term Weighted 1.969 1 1.969 1.927 .169
Deviation 14.256 23 .620 .607 .912
Within Groups 79.697 78 1.022
Total 95.922 102
Situation One – Cognitive Change Between Groups (Combined) 36.486 24 1.520 1.363 .155
Linear Term Weighted 13.158 1 13.158 11.800 .001
Deviation 23.328 23 1.014 .910 .586
Within Groups 86.971 78 1.115
Total 123.456 102
Situation One – Response Modulation Between Groups (Combined) 168.595 24 7.025 4.787 .000
Linear Term Weighted 99.520 1 99.520 67.823 .000
Deviation 69.074 23 3.003 2.047 .010
Within Groups 114.454 78 1.467
Total 283.049 102
Situation Two – Situation Selection Between Groups (Combined) 32.784 24 1.366 1.132 .332
Linear Term Weighted 11.874 1 11.874 9.838 .002
Deviation 20.909 23 .909 .753 .775
Within Groups 94.148 78 1.207
Total 126.932 102
Situation Two – Situation Modification Between Groups (Combined) 139.831 24 5.826 4.844 .000
Linear Term Weighted 70.296 1 70.296 58.442 .000
Deviation 69.535 23 3.023 2.513 .001
Within Groups 93.820 78 1.203
Total 233.650 102
Situation Two – Attentional Deployment Between Groups (Combined) 16.658 24 .694 1.254 .225
Linear Term Weighted .233 1 .233 .421 .518
Deviation 16.425 23 .714 1.290 .202
Within Groups 43.167 78 .553
Total 59.825 102
Situation Two – Cognitive Change Between Groups (Combined) 32.461 24 1.353 1.449 .113
Linear Term Weighted 4.756 1 4.756 5.096 .027
Deviation 27.705 23 1.205 1.291 .202
Within Groups 72.801 78 .933
Total 105.262 102
Situation Two – Response Modulation Between Groups (Combined) 156.481 24 6.520 5.057 .000
Linear Term Weighted 102.654 1 102.654 79.618 .000
Deviation 53.827 23 2.340 1.815 .028
Within Groups 100.568 78 1.289
Total 257.049 102
Situation Three – Situation Selection Between Groups (Combined) 73.511 24 3.063 2.650 .001
Linear Term Weighted 33.979 1 33.979 29.396 .000
Deviation 39.532 23 1.719 1.487 .101
Within Groups 90.159 78 1.156
Total 163.670 102
Situation Three – Situation Modification Between Groups (Combined) 115.194 24 4.800 4.536 .000
Linear Term Weighted 79.527 1 79.527 75.158 .000
Deviation 35.667 23 1.551 1.466 .109
Within Groups 82.534 78 1.058
Total 197.728 102
Situation Three – Attentional Deployment Between Groups (Combined) 28.624 24 1.193 1.348 .163
Linear Term Weighted 11.065 1 11.065 12.503 .001
Deviation 17.560 23 .763 .863 .644
Within Groups 69.026 78 .885
Total 97.650 102
Situation Three – Cognitive Change Between Groups (Combined) 40.346 24 1.681 .882 .623
Linear Term Weighted 1.782 1 1.782 .935 .336
Deviation 38.564 23 1.677 .880 .623
Within Groups 148.586 78 1.905
Total 188.932 102
Situation Three – Response Modulation Between Groups (Combined) 149.427 24 6.226 4.893 .000
Linear Term Weighted 101.719 1 101.719 79.939 .000
Deviation 47.708 23 2.074 1.630 .058
Within Groups 99.252 78 1.272
Total 248.680 102
Challenge Code Between Groups (Combined) 76.474 23 3.325 1.720 .043
Linear Term Weighted 24.556 1 24.556 12.703 .001
Deviation 51.918 22 2.360 1.221 .259
Within Groups 137.252 71 1.933
Total 213.726 94

 

Effects of Self-Control on Procrastination

Table 4. Descriptive Statistics for Total Procrastination by Total Self-Control
Total SC Mean N Std. Deviation
17 30.00 1
18 23.00 1
19 20.25 4 14.728
20 22.00 3 2.646
21 20.88 8 3.720
22 20.25 4 4.272
23 25.78 9 3.193
24 22.25 4 5.188
25 24.00 4 3.162
26 22.75 4 .957
27 22.60 5 4.099
28 23.50 2 3.536
29 27.33 3 .577
30 31.00 1
32 25.00 2 2.828
33 28.25 4 1.500
34 29.40 5 .894
35 30.20 5 .837
36 30.40 15 1.993
37 29.09 11 1.375
38 32.00 1
39 30.33 3 1.528
41 33.00 2 0.000
42 33.00 1
43 33.00 1
Total 26.42 103 5.229

 

Table 5. ANOVA for Effects of Total Self-Control on Total Procrastination
Sum of Squares df Mean Square F Sig.
Total Procrast-ination Between Groups (Combined) 1597.326 24 66.555 4.356 .000
Linear Term Weighted 1257.397 1 1257.397 82.298 .000
Deviation 339.928 23 14.779 .967 .515
Within Groups 1191.723 78 15.278
Total 2789.049 102

  

Appendix B

Participant Information and Questionnaire Materials

Participant Information Sheet

Goal pursuit and its effects on stress and emotions.

You are being invited to take part in a research study. Before you decide whether

or not to take part, it is important for you to understand why the research is being

done and what it will involve. Please take time to read the following information

carefully.

What is the purpose of the study?

The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between personality

factors and the strategies people use in situations that require self-control.

This study will take approximately 10-15 minutes to complete.

Do I have to take part?

It is up to you to decide whether or not to take part. If you do decide to take part

you can click on the link in our email to the online questionnaire which will direct

you to a consent form. By clicking ‘Yes I understand” at the bottom of the consent

form you are giving your consent to participate in the study. If you decide to take

part, you are still free to withdraw at any time without giving a reason.

What will happen to me if I take part?

As part of the study you will be asked to complete an online questionnaire. In this

questionnaire, you will be asked to complete questions about your personality and

the strategies you use in self-control situations

What are the possible benefits of taking part?

This study has some important implications which will contribute both to the field

of psychology and wider social settings. By taking part in this study you will be

contributing to this objective.

Will my information in this study be kept confidential?

Any details collected about you will be anonymised and strictly confidential.

Individuals who have taken part will not be able to be identified and the data you

provide cannot be matched back to you. Only the researchers working on this

project will have access to this data.

What should I do if I want to take part?

After reading the rest of this information sheet, if you wish to take part in this

study please click on the link provided in the email that was sent to you. Before

starting the study, you will be directed to a consent form. By clicking ‘Yes I

understand” at the end of this form you are giving your consent to participate.

Upon doing this you will be directed to the questionnaire.

What will happen to the results of the research study?

The results of this study will be reported in the researchers’ final year

project reports for internal consideration by the University ofs School of

Psychology.

Who is organising and funding the research?

This work is being conducted as a student project at University of Sussex within

the School of Psychology.

Who has approved this study?

The research has been approved by the School of Psychology’s ethical review

process.

Contact for Further Information

Student Researchers:

Project Supervisor: y,

e.k

If you have any concerns about the way in which the study has been conducted,

you should contact the project supervisor (details above) in the first instance.

Thank you for taking time to read this information.

Date

12 October 2016

Hi there,

DO YOU WANT KNOW WHAT KIND OF STRATEGIES YOU

WOULD USE IN SITUATIONS THAT REQUIRE SELF-CONTROL?

THIS STUDY COULD BE THE ANSWER!

We are currently recruiting participants for our final year Psychology project

on what kind of strategy could improve individual self-control ability. There

is only ONE quick online questionnaire that shouldn’t take more than 10-15

minutes to complete.

For more information about the study, please see the information sheet

attached.

If you would like to take part in this study, click on the link below to

complete the first part online. After completing this questionnaire, you will

receive details about how you will complete the rest of the study.

Link to questionnaire

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch:

C????????

Thank you!

Self-regulation strategies

Hello everyone I am the researcher of this study. My name is I am year 3 psychology student

studying in the University of . Thank you for agreeing to take part in this important survey

measuring the relationship between personality factors and the strategies people use in

situations that require self-control. The survey should only take 10-15 minutes, and your

responses are completely anonymous.

It is imperative that you answer the questions as honestly and accurately as possible, so

please read the instructions carefully. Furthermore, please answer the questions in the order

they appear on the page. Please read the instructions carefully and answer the questions

honestly, in the order they appear on the page. You will not be able to return to a page once

you have clicked the ‘continue’ button. If you wish to take part, please take your time in

reading the consent form below.

If you would like to know more information about this study then please refer back to the

information sheet attached to our email. Please note, this study has been reviewed by the

School of Psychology’s ethical review process at the University of and has been approved.

If you have any questions or concerns,

By Ticking the box below you are demonstrating that you understand:

  1. That you are under no obligation to participate and you can withdraw from the study at

any time without having to give a reason.

  1. That you have the right to withdraw from this study at any time and without giving a

reason, until it is no longer practical for you to do so. This will be once the data collection is

complete, at which stage you will receive a debrief via email and a reminder of the option to

withdraw your data.

  1. That all participant details will be anonymized and kept strictly confidential. Your identity

will remain untraceable and the information you provide will not be able to be matched to

you. Only researchers involved in the administration of this project will have access to this

data.

  1. There are no undue risks (i.e. risks you would not normally encounter in everyday life)

involved in this study.

!! Yes I understand

Q4 What is your gender?

!! Male (1)

!! Female (2)

!! Other

Q5 What is your age?

Q6 Are you a student?

!! Yes (1)

!! No (2)

Q7 Ethnic background

!! White (1)

!! Black or African American (2)

!! American Indian or Alaska Native (3)

!! Asian (4)

!! Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander (5)

!! Other (6)

Self-control scale (Tangney et al., 2004)

People may use the following statements to describe themselves. For each statement, decide

whether the statement is uncharacteristic or characteristic of you.

Q8 I am good at resisting temptation

!! Strongly agree (1)

!! Somewhat agree (2)

!! Neither agree nor disagree (3)

!! Somewhat disagree (4)

!! Strongly disagree (5)

Q9 I have a hard time breaking bad habits.

!! Strongly agree (1)

!! Agree (2)

!! Somewhat agree (3)

!! Neither agree nor disagree (4)

!! Somewhat disagree (5)

Q10 I am lazy.

!! Strongly agree (1)

!! Somewhat agree (2)

!! Neither agree nor disagree (3)

!! Somewhat disagree (4)

!! Strongly disagree (5)

Q11 I wish I had more self-discipline.

!! Strongly agree (1)

!! Somewhat agree (2)

!! Neither agree nor disagree (3)

!! Somewhat disagree (4)

!! Strongly disagree (5)

Q12 I am able to work effectively toward long-term goals.

!! Strongly agree (1)

!! Somewhat agree (2)

!! Neither agree nor disagree (3)

!! Somewhat disagree (4)

!! Strongly disagree (5)

Q13 I have trouble concentrating.

!! Strongly agree (1)

!! Somewhat agree (2)

!! Neither agree nor disagree (3)

!! Somewhat disagree (4)

!! Strongly disagree (5)

Q14 I change my mind fairly often.

!! Strongly agree (1)

!! Somewhat agree (2)

!! Neither agree nor disagree (3)

!! Somewhat disagree (4)

!! Strongly disagree (5)

Q15 Pleasure and fun sometimes keep me from getting work done.

!! Strongly agree (1)

!! Somewhat agree (2)

!! Neither agree nor disagree (3)

!! Somewhat disagree (4)

!! Strongly disagree (5)

Q16 I say inappropriate things.

!! Strongly agree (1)

!! Somewhat agree (2)

!! Neither agree nor disagree (3)

!! Somewhat disagree (4)

!! Strongly disagree (5)

Q17 Sometimes I can’t stop myself from doing something, even if I know it is wrong.

!! Strongly agree (1)

!! Somewhat agree (2)

!! Neither agree nor disagree (3)

!! Somewhat disagree (4)

!! Strongly disagree (5)

Self-Control Challenges (Duckworth et al., 2016)

For questions 16-18 imagine yourself in a situation (listed in the question below) and think

about which strategy you would be most likely to use to help yourself to succeed. Please

Drag and Drop the answer from 1-5.

1= Most likely to use this strategy 5= Will not use this strategy at all

Q18 “You have set a goal of getting better grades this year than last year. Unfortunately,

you’re having difficulty staying focused on your studying for long periods of time because

you keep texting with your friends.”

______ “Lock myself in a room without my phone so that it doesn’t become a distraction.”

(1)

______ “I would shut off my phone and put it under my pillow so I wouldn’t be tempted to

touch it.” (2)

______ “Ease off the texting by ignoring my phone.” (3)

______ “I would set up a reward for myself . . . I would plan something for myself that I

would only do if I got straight A’s.” (4)

______ “Not be a baby and just study.” (5)

Q19 “You have to study for a big exam but the class is a really boring one. Every time you sit

down to study, you find yourself tempted to surf the Internet (e.g., watch YouTube videos,

check your Instagram feed, etc.) or play video games.”

______ “I would go to the library as being in a quiet and controlled environment would make

me focus.” (1)

______ “Remove all distractions and tell one of my parents I had a big exam so they would

check in on me and I’d be forced to stay on task.” (2)

______ “Remind myself that even the most boring classes count towards my GPA which will

affect my future.” (3)

______ “I would tell myself that if I study for an hour, I can reward myself by playing video

games later.” (4)

______ “Just deal with it and study.” (5)

Q20 “You have a long-term project due and don’t want to wait until the last minute to get it

done. But there are a lot of more fun things to do, like playing video games and watching

TV.”

______ “Lock myself in my room until it’s done, because I don’t have a T.V. let alone a

game console in my room.” (1)

______ “I would ask my mom to take away my phone and other distractions to make sure I

can get it done on time.” (2)

______ “Think about the consequences and try my best to close everything else out” (3)

______ “Set goals, break the project up into pieces.” (4)

______ “Just do it . . . I just focus and get my work done.” (5)

Q21 Please describe an incident from your personal lives in which you needed self-control

and please indicate what you actually did ?

Procrastination Scale (Lay, 1986)

People may use the following statements to describe themselves. For each statement, decide

whether the statement is uncharacteristic or characteristic of you.

Q22 I often find myself performing tasks that I had intended to do days before.

!! Strongly agree (1)

!! Somewhat agree (2)

!! Neither agree nor disagree (3)

!! Somewhat disagree (4)

!! Strongly disagree (5)

Q23 Even with jobs that require little else except sitting down and doing them, I find they

seldom get done for days.

!! Strongly agree (1)

!! Somewhat agree (2)

!! Neither agree nor disagree (3)

!! Somewhat disagree (4)

!! Strongly disagree (5)

Q24 I generally delay before starting work I have to do.

!! Strongly agree (1)

!! Somewhat agree (2)

!! Neither agree nor disagree (3)

!! Somewhat disagree (4)

!! Strongly disagree (5)

Q25 In preparing for some deadlines, I often waste time by doing other things.

!! Strongly agree (1)

!! Somewhat agree (2)

!! Neither agree nor disagree (3)

!! Somewhat disagree (4)

!! Strongly disagree (5)

Q26 I often have a task finished sooner than necessary.

!! Strongly agree (1)

!! Somewhat agree (2)

!! Neither agree nor disagree (3)

!! Somewhat disagree (4)

!! Strongly disagree (5)

Q27 I usually buy even an essential item at the last minute.

!! Strongly agree (1)

!! Somewhat agree (2)

!! Neither agree nor disagree (3)

!! Somewhat disagree (4)

!! Strongly disagree (5)

Q28 I usually accomplish all the things I plan to do in a day.

!! Strongly agree (1)

!! Somewhat agree (2)

!! Neither agree nor disagree (3)

!! Somewhat disagree (4)

!! Strongly disagree (5)

Q29 I am continually saying I’ll do it tomorrow.

!! Strongly agree (1)

!! Somewhat agree (2)

!! Neither agree nor disagree (3)

!! Somewhat disagree (4)

!! Strongly disagree (5)

Q 30 I usually take care of all the tasks I have to do before I settle down and relax for the

evening.

!! Strongly agree (1)

!! Somewhat agree (2)

!! Neither agree nor disagree (3)

!! Somewhat disagree (4)

!! Strongly disagree (5)

 

 

 


How The Order Process Works

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