Procrastination – a phenomenon that has become increasingly prevalent in contemporary society – has developed to the extent that it not only affects university students, but also the general population. Although the notion of procrastination dates back to approximately 800BC (Steel, 2007), studies up until today have failed to understand the causes of procrastination. Ferrari (1994) argues for this notion stating that procrastination “remains one of the least understood human miseries” (p.673 as cited in Klassen, Krawchuk, & Rajani, 2008). Furthermore, tentative evidence, as studies have shown, suggests that procrastination significantly exacerbates both health and academic performance (Klassen et al.,2008;Sirin,2008;Choi & Chun Chu,2005;Tan,Ang,Klassen,Yeo,Wong,Huan & Chong,2008;& Rabin,Fogel,&Nutter-Upham,2011).Following from this, there has been a proliferation of literature surrounding procrastination and its consequences. Such consequences, as studies have shown, include high levels of stress, depression, anxiety, low self-efficacy, fear of failure and other health- risk behaviours. However, this assignment shall only take one consequence-that being self-efficacy- into account. Thus, the purpose of this literature review is to establish whether a relationship-if any- exists between self-efficacy and procrastination among university students. Firstly, an attempt to operationally define the two variables (procrastination and self-efficacy) shall be made. Next, relevant literature will be reviewed to address the research question.
Definition of procrastination
Although many authors have attempted to define procrastination, pinpointing its precise definition in current literature, remains an area of uncertainty (Corkin, Yu, & Lindt, 2011). Certain studies usually define procrastination as having the knowledge that a task, responsibility or decision needs to be completed in a definite timeframe but intentionally delays, puts off or postpones the tasks, responsibility or decisions to complete it at a later stage (Klassen et al.,2008;Steel,2007; Haycock, McCarthy, & Skay,1998;Choi & Chun Chu,2005;Rabin et al.,2011,Corkin et al.,2011 & Wolters,2003).
Following from this, although alternate authors acknowledge that procrastination involves the unnecessary delay of tasks, they suggest that individuals delay tasks to the point that the individual experiences significant emotional discomfort (Tan et al., 2008; Seo, 2008; &Wolters, 2003). Another approach to defining procrastination, as Hussain and Sultan (2010) and Sirin (2011) suggest, regards procrastination as a behavioural or personality disposition an individual has to delay or postpone the completing tasks or making of decisions. Shah (2000) argues that such individuals have periods of indecisive states whereby they lack will power and vitality to accomplish certain tasks (as cited in Hussain and Sultan, 2010). Although the origin of the word ‘procrastination’ is unidentified,...