Introduction: Procrastination is defined as the voluntary delay of an intended course of action despite resulting in negative consequences. Procrastination can become a persistent behavioral pattern associated with reduced mood, increased stress, and poorer performance. Approximately one-fifth of the adult population and more than half of the student population experience significant difficulties due to procrastination. However, despite its prevalence, it has received little attention in clinical research. Meanwhile, Internet-based cognitive behavior therapy (ICBT) has been found promising for several psychiatric conditions, but has not yet been used in relation to procrastination. The current study thus aimed to examine the efficacy of ICBT for procrastination at post treatment and one-year follow-up. Furthermore, predictors of change were investigated in order to distinguish variables that might predict at positive treatment outcome.
Method: Self-recruited participants (N = 150) with severe and chronic procrastination were randomized to a ten-week treatment program administered via the Internet; guided self-help, unguided self-help, and wait-list control (receiving unguided self-help after the first treatment period). Outcome measures were administered at screening, post treatment, one-year follow-up, or weekly; the Pure Procrastination Scale (PPS), the Irrational Procrastination Scale (IPS), the Susceptibility to Temptation Scale, the Montgomery Åsberg Depression Rating Scale, the Generalized Anxiety Disorder – 7 Items, and the Quality of Life Inventory. The intention-to-treat principle was used for all statistical analyses.
Results: Moderate to large effect sizes were obtained at post treatment comparing guided and unguided self-help with wait-list control, the PPS, Cohen’s d = 0.70, 95% confidence interval (CI) [0.29, 1.10], and d = 0.50, 95% CI [0.10, 0.90], and the IPS, d = 0.81 95% CI [0.40, 1.22], and d = 0.69 95% CI [0.29, 1.09]. Clinically significant change was achieved among 31.3–40.0% for guided self-help, compared with 24.0–36.0% for unguided self-help. Neither of the treatment conditions were found to be superior on any of the outcome measures, Fs (98, 65.17-72.55) < 1.70, p > .19. In terms of the outcome at the one-year follow-up, the results will be available at the time of the conference, including the analyses of predictors of change.
Conclusion: ICBT could be useful for managing self-reported problems of procrastination, with results from post treatment revealing that both guided self-help and unguided self-help can be of great aid. Findings from the one-year follow-up and analyses of predictors of change will help to determine the long-term benefit and the possible variables responsible for a successful treatment outcome.
The European Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Therapies , 2016. 542-542 p.
procrastination, internet-based cognitive behavior therapy, follow-up, predictors
46th European Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Therapies congress, August 31 - September 3, Stockholm, Sweden.