Procrastination; the purposeful delay of an intended course of action is, for many, a persistent behavior associated with reduced mood, increased stress, and poorer performance. 20 % of adults and 50 % of students experience significant difficulties with procrastination. Internet- based cognitive behavior therapy (ICBT) shows promise for several conditions, but has never been applied to procrastination. The current study examined the efficacy of ICBT for procrastination at post treatment and one-year follow-up, and investigated predictors of change.
Method: Participants (N = 150) were randomized to 10 weeks of either guided self-help, unguided self-help, or wait-list control (receiving unguided self-help after the first treatment period). Outcome measures were 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 Assessment, and the Quality of Life Inventory. Intention-to-treat was used for all statistical analyses, with mixed-effects models to assess the effect of time and group.
Results: Moderate to large effect sizes were obtained 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 and 24.0–36.0% for unguided self-help. Neither treatment condition was superior on any outcome measure, Fs (98, 65.17-72.55) < 1.70, p > .19. One-year follow-up data has been collected and the results will be available at the time of the conference, including predictors of change.
Conclusion: ICBT could be useful for self-reported problems of procrastination, with results at one-year follow-up and predictors of change revealing the long-term benefit and variables associated with successful treatment outcome.
The 8th Scientific Meeting of the International Society for Research on Internet Interventions, Seattle, USA, 7-9 April 2016.