Scientists from the Moscow State University of Psychology and Education (MSUPE) have found that procrastination leads to interpersonal tensions between teachers and students that threaten psychological security in institutions of higher education.
Researchers believe that developing programmes that increase motivation to study will help avoid unwanted consequences. The results of the study were published in the international, peer-reviewed journal Behavioral Sciences.
The MSUPE experts conducted a study using a survey of university students, over the course of which they considered procrastination as a cause of the deterioration of psychological safety within the educational environment. The authors of the scientific work noted that if you constantly put things off, there will be a feeling of inner discomfort and negative emotions associated with expecting unpleasant consequences.
A study using the scale of procrastination developed by K. Ley found that 46.7% of students exhibited a moderate level of procrastination. They occasionally put off important tasks, but this does not diminish the quality of their performance in different activities. High levels of procrastination, however, are common among 53.3% of students. They systematically fail to achieve sets of objectives or perform tasks poorly, which leads to negative consequences.
Scientists have discovered that students exhibiting a high level of procrastination have the strongest feelings of duty and shame towards themselves and other important people in their lives. Students who often put off important things can show hostility when interacting with classmates and teachers, according to the authors of the study.
“It should be noted that students exhibiting a moderate level of procrastination are characteristically motivated by their professional, educational and cognitive activities, which determine their desire to acquire professional knowledge, skills and abilities in the profession they are learning,” an associate professor at the Department of Scientific Basis of Extreme Psychology at the Moscow State University of Psychology and Education, Anna Litvinova said.
She also noted that moderate procrastinators were more likely to show goodwill and acceptance in interpersonal relationships. This provides them with psychological safety in the educational environment of the university and encourages them to pursue self-development. Meanwhile, students exhibiting a high level of procrastination may experience difficulties in interpersonal relations.
According to the MSUPE scientists, it is necessary to develop and implement psychological aid programmes aimed at reducing the level of procrastination, allowing students to stop postponing important things, in order to provide them with psychological security at university.
Experts believe that this would help them avoid emotional discomfort, and prevent students from having subjectively negative experiences and encountering general dissatisfaction with their activities. The result will be increased motivation for self-development, resources for learning and potential in professional activity.
In the future, the researchers plan to learn how prostration affects psychological security in different types of educational institutions. Comparisons will be conducted between humanities-oriented, technical and military universities, as well as between colleges and universities.