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Procrastination, fear of failure & perfectionism in academics

Professor: Al Blunt Mentors: Pawit Kelly & Kaitlyn Nephin By: Alex Morgan FYAM 1900I (Fall Term) Date Submitted: January 14 2010 APA Format Student Number: 100826966

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Table of Contents

Introduction...................................................................................................................1 Definition of Procrastination..........................................................................................2 Background of the Study...............................................................................................3 Problem Statement.........................................................................................................4 Research Question.........................................................................................................5 Hypothesis......................................................................................................................6 Objectives......................................................................................................................7 Significance of Study.....................................................................................................8 Literature Review...........................................................................................................9 Methodology.................................................................................................................10 Research Design............................................................................................................11 Data Collection..............................................................................................................12 Data Collection Instrument............................................................................................17 Data Analysis.................................................................................................................18 References......................................................................................................................19 Appendix........................................................................................................................20

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Cognitive Links Between Procrastination, fear of failure and perfectionism in Academics

Introduction
Procrastination is defined as to put off intentionally or habitually, the doing of something that should be done. Hypothesis: Fear of failure correlates to perfectionism in academics

I believe that through the course of this study _____ will happen, because... or I believe the majority of the population will respond in ________ way to my questionnaire, because... or I believe the data will show ______ in this study, because...

Background of Study
From various aspects, many studies have been done related to procrastination, fear of failure and perfectionism. It is generally agreed that students in general when it comes to

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academics, will procrastinate due to fear of failure & perfectionism. A number of studies also have indicated that procrastination may be linked to anxiety and fear of failure (Ferrari & Tice, 2000). These findings suggest that procrastination is an impediment to academic success because it decreases the quality and quantity of learning while increasing the severity of stress and negative outcomes in students lives (Ferrari et al., 1995; Milgram, Gehrman, & Keinan, 1992). There have been many theories and studies investigating the links between forms of procrastination and beliefs associated with fear of failure and perfectionism.

This topic is important because Cognitively-oriented therapists often see clients whose perfectionism has led them to inadequate adaptive feelings, behaviour, and thoughts. Perfectionism is generally viewed as a maladaptive characteristic because of its many undesirable consequences for perfectionists. (Hewitt & Flett, 2002; ,Enns & Cox, 2002; Hamachek, 1978; Hollender, 1965; Pacht,1984). Fear of failure is usually associated as a primary motivation for perfectionism but not much is known about the correlation between these concepts. The purpose of the present research is to construct a grounded theory of procrastination on the basis of college students & reports about their own procrastination.

Literature review
Intuitively, we naturally associate procrastination with purposely avoiding a task or work, that on a deeper level we are motivated to complete or work on. These conflicting concepts are present in modern definitions & concepts of the term. Furthermore, current definitions of procrastination include, to put off intentionally the doing of something that should be done (Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 2008).

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Some authors have included relatively strict definitions of what it means to procrastinate & have suggested that perfectionism plays a role within it. Perfectionism is generally viewed as a
maladaptive characteristic because of its many undesirable consequences for perfectionists and their loved ones (Hewitt & Flett, 2002; for alternative perspectives, Enns & Cox, 2002; Hamachek, 1978; Hollender, 1965; Pacht, 1984). Some researchers have stated that Self orientated perfectionism (OOP) is the root for a normal or adaptive form of perfectionism because it involves having high personal standards & being conscientious. (Enns & Cox, 2002; Hill, McIntire, & Bacharach, 1997). It is clear that the delaying, postponing or putting off of tasks is a central feature of procrastination. Furthermore, what is clear from the literature is that procrastination often involves the counter-intentional delay of actions whose execution or evaluation were considered at some point in time (Ferrari, 1993a; Lay & Silverman, 1996; Milgram, 2, 1991; Silver & Sabini, 1981). As pointed out by Steel (2007)

Recent research & studies have explored the need for achievement-related beliefs about the likelihood of feeling accomplished in oneself while engaged in personally-meaningful pursuits. Links between these beliefs & Self prescribed perfectionism (SOP) should be investigated in future research to further connect the perfectionism & achievement motivation literatures that have emerged somewhat independently to date.

Objectives & Purpose


The objective & purpose of this research project is to examine the relationship between two factors that are fear of failure & perfectionism & identify what is responsible for these behaviours in academics. The significance of the study will be to improve understanding of how fear of failure & perfectionism is linked to procrastination in academics.

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Methodology
This section presents an overview of the methods to be used in the study. Areas covered include; participants, materials, and procedure.

Appendices
Cognitive links between fear of failure and perfectionism Flett, G. L., & Hewitt, P. L. (2002). Perfectionism and maladaptive adjustment: An overview of theoretical, definitional, and treatment issues. In G. L. Flett & P. L. Hewitt (Eds.), Perfectionism: Theory, research, and treatment (pp. 5-31). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. Flett & Hewitt use a multidimensional Perfectionism Scale & Performance Failure Appraisal Inventory with College students enrolled in physical activity classes to distinguish the cognitive links between fear of failure & perfectionism. Flett & Hewitt Hypothesized Links between Fear of Failure and Perfectionism, & that Conceptually, FF bears the greatest resemblance to SPP (self prescribed perfectionism) because both capture aversive relational experiences oriented around an individuals personal achievement failures. In contrast, SOP and OOP describe less self-conscious experiences and focus instead on the target of ones high-performance standards. Thus, consistent with previous research (Flett, Blankstein, Hewitt, & Koledin, 1992; Hewitt, Flett, Besser, Sherry, & McGee, 2003), FF-related beliefs were expected to account for more 1

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variance in SPP than in SOP or OOP scores (after controlling for variance associated with the other forms of perfectionism).

References
1. Besser, A., Flett, G. L. & Hewitt, P. L. (2004). Perfectionism, cognition, and affect in response to performance failure versus success. Journal of Rational-Emotive and Cognitive-Behavior Therapy, 22, 301-328. 2. Enns, M. W., & Cox, B. J. (2002). The nature and assessment of perfectionism: A critical analysis. In G. L. Flett & P. L. Hewitt (Eds.), Perfectionism: Theory, research, and treatment (pp. 33-62). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

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3. Flett, G. L., & Hewitt, P. L. (2002). Perfectionism and maladjustment: An overview of theoretical, definitional, and treatment issues. In G. L. Flett & P. L. Hewitt (Eds.), Perfectionism: Theory, research, and treatment (pp. 5-31). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. 4. Hill, R. W., Mclntire, K. & Bacharach, V. R. (1997). Perfectionism and the big five factors. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 12, 257-270. 5. Pacht, A. R. (1984). Reflections on perfection. American Psychologist, 39, 386-390 6. Aitken, M. E. (1982). A personality profile of the college student procrastinator. 7. Ajayi, A. & Osiki, P. (2008). Procrastination among the undergraduates in a Nigerian University: Implications for time management. International Business Management, 2, 126-131 8. Anderson, C. J. (2003). The psychology of doing nothing: Forms of decision avoidance result from reason and emotion. Psychological Bulletin, 129, 139-167 10.1037/0033-2909 .129.1.139. 9. Burka, J. B. & Yuen, L. M. (1983). Procrastination: Why you do it, what to do about it. 10. . Burns, L. R., Dittman, K., Nguyen, N. & Mitchelson, J. K. (2000). Academic procrastination, perfectionism, and control: Associations with vigilant and avoidant coping. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 5, 35-46.

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