Procrastination is a predominant issue among students in which they experience it at some point in their education causing negative consequences of poorer well-being and academic failure. There are a variety of ways to define the meaning of procrastination. Procrastination is considered as the act of avoiding academic tasks and delaying them until at a more desired time. It is something that we experience to even a small degree in our everyday lives. Procrastination is an ongoing significant problem that we need to put our attention to as students because it is negatively associated with academic performance.
Students who tend to procrastinate have an increased level of pressure to complete an assignment on time as the assigned time is quickly catching up which results in lower grade. It is additionally critical to recognize groups of students that are struggling with procrastination so that we are able to make viable interventions.
This might lead schools to make programs that improve work habits and offer assistance with time management to them.
It can also alter the method of instruction in schools so that instructors are able to execute more accountability factors inside their classroom. Therefore, it is important to recognize the factors that have an influence on procrastination before it prolongs throughout high school and into college life. Therefore, there is great importance for one to see whether birth order and sex has an effect on procrastination and to identify the group of individuals that show the highest level of procrastination. Previous literature into the potential causes of procrastination have frequently looked into birth order, sex, and ethnicity as a cause.
Gabriel (2015) collected data from 60 college students in a town in Kenya to investigate the effect of birth order on procrastination.
They were either first born, middle born, or last born and were given a questionnaire to assess their level of procrastination asking them questions like whether they postponed doing a task or gave up on a task. The study concluded that there was a significant relationship between procrastination and birth position in which last borns and middleborns showed more procrastination than firstborns. Firstborn tend to be task-oriented leading them to have high achievement in the academic setting. They put more priority on their work than on social settings for an opportunity for advancement. These traits indicate that first borns are less likely to procrastinate compared to other birth positions. Middle-borns are usually self-reliant and competitive because they have pressure in catching up or even overpassing their older sibling. With the addition of a younger sibling adds pressure to being compared. Therefore, they are also less likely to procrastinate. On the other hand, last borns are considered to be the spoiled one because parents have less demand on the youngest child which they are more likely to procrastinate.
Sex has also been identified as a factor that have an effect on procrastination. Steel & Ferrari (2013) set out to identify the individuals that tend to procrastinate the most. Factors such as sex, age, marital status, and education were explored on an internet survey with a global sample of more than 16,000 English speakers. The study found that younger males with low education levels had a higher tendency to procrastinate. In another study, Ozer, Demir, & Ferrari (2009) examined academic procrastination as a function of gender exploring the different reasons for procrastination. The study concluded that males procrastinated more frequently than females indicating that males typically have a higher level of procrastination compared to females. We chose 14 year olds in our study because a lot of the research on procrastination uses college undergraduate and graduate students as their participants. However, there is not a lot of research examining the relationship between high school students and procrastination. This is why we wanted to look at a younger age group. We did find a research study by Motie, Heidari, and Sadeghi (2012) that examined high school seniors in Iran and their levels of procrastination.
Their rationale for using seniors in high school was because they are in a transient stage of entering a new section of education in college, showing meaningful predictors of academic procrastination. This got us to ponder about freshman in high school because they begin to show more levels of autonomy in their work due to pressure of getting into college. We also figured that if we can target younger students in high school, we can detect patterns of procrastination so that we can potentially fix or develop programs to help them improve and succeed for the rest of their high school career as well as prepare for college. We chose ethnicity as our covariate because we live in a very diverse community which counts for individual differences from a variety of backgrounds. Ethnicity plays a role in students’ academic achievement and between every student there naturally exists differences in how well they perform in academics. There is evidence that describes dissimilarities of academic achievement between different ethnicities beside individual differences.
One of our limitations of our study was the small sample size and the usage of one high school because this decreases the external validity of our study and prevents us from generalizing our results to a larger population of high school students. There are a lot of other factors that affect procrastination that weren’t controlled in our study. For example, fear of failure is known to be associated with procrastination. Among college students, a fear of failure has been shown to lead to an increase of delays on academic and personal tasks among college students. Perfectionism can also have an influence on procrastination. Another factor is parenting styles in which females that have fathers with an authoritarian parenting style show higher levels of procrastination.
Lastly, our study used self report to measure the participants’ tendency to procrastinate that could have led to a social desirability bias because some of them could have underreported their levels of procrastination to represent themselves in a positive way. Our study held age constant, but maybe future researchers can help determine if procrastination levels are fixed across age or if they change with time by investigating the interaction between age and procrastination. Although ethnicity was used as a covariate, future studies could explore how cultural differences have an influence on procrastination. Different countries have their own ways in exhibiting self-discipline.
Therefore, researchers can examine the interaction between birth order and sex in countries by comparing them with different levels of self-discipline. Our study resulted in male last borns having the highest tendency to procrastinate, but it would be interesting to see researchers go more in depth with this finding. Future research can explore the interaction between birth order and sex on personality differences to examine why males and females show inconsistent patterns in procrastination across different birth order group. In conclusion, we identified that birth order has an effect on procrastination with sex differences in procrastination across birth order. Future research can examine the personality differences over diverse birth positions and sex in order to untangle the complexities related with procrastination. Also, future researchers can utilize their discoveries to offer assistance to groups that have a high chance of developing poor academic habits and create interventions that improve their experiences in academic settings by decreasing their stress level on the pressure of academic performance and completion of assignments.