ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

Acta Psychologica Sinica ›› 2017, Vol. 49 ›› Issue (7): 953-965.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2017.00953

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 Integratin the theory of planned behavior and implementation intention to overcome procrastination

 LIN Lin   

  1.  (Business School, Central University of Finance and Economics, Beijing 100081, China)
  • Received:2016-06-14 Published:2017-07-25 Online:2017-05-26
  • Contact: LIN Lin, E-mail: E-mail: E-mail:
  • Supported by:

Abstract:  Procrastination represents a behavioral tendency to delay beginning or completing a goal-directed action, which results in a gap between intention and behavior. While extant literature has predominately adopted cross-sectional designs to examine the antecedents of procrastination, the current study conducted a quasi- experiment to explore strategies to overcome procrastination by integrating the theory of planned behavior (TPB) and implementation intention. Furthermore, the study employed a daily dairy design to examine how these factors might influence the dynamic process of procrastination over time. One hundred and thirty-four undergraduate students participated in this two-stage study. All participants firstly filled in a general questionnaire to capture their demographic information and individual traits. One week later, on Sunday evening, they were asked to list five academic-related tasks that were assumed to be finished by the end of the upcoming week. Implementation intention was manipulated in which half of the participants were randomly assigned to experimental condition and were instructed to form implementation intention. The other half received no such instruction and served as the control group. In the following week, they were asked to report how much each task was achieved by the end of each day for five consecutive working days. Given the multilevel nature of the data where daily task completion (Level 1) was nested within task (Level 2), and task was further nested within individual (Level 3), hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) was used for hypothesis testing. Results of series of HLM models indicated that a) all the TPB variables were significantly related to academic procrastination. Specifically, participants procrastinated to a less extent when they had more positive attitude, perceived higher behavioral control, felt stronger subjective norm, and held stronger behavioral intention toward the completion of the task; b) behavioral intention mediated the effects of attitude and perceived behavioral control, but not subjective norm, on procrastination; c) implementation intention mitigated the degree of procrastination such that those instructed to form implementation intention completed higher percentage of planned tasks than their counterparts; d) both perceived behavioral control and implementation intention accelerated the process of task completion in that participants who had higher behavioral control or were instructed to explicitly form action plan were in a higher speed toward task completion. The current study provided empirical evidence that implementation intention manipulation may serve as an effective strategy to overcome procrastination. Specifically, forming implementation intention was effective not only in mitigating the degree of procrastination, but also in accelerating the rate of achieving goals. The potential mediating mechanisms through which implementation intention mitigated behavioral procrastination and accelerated the process of task completion were discussed.

Key words:  procrastination, implementation intention, the theory of planned behavior, quasi-experiment design, daily dairy method

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