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Chronic Procrastination Affects 20 Percent, Hint Of Sub-Disorder


Procrastination is, perhaps, an ailment we have all felt at one time or another; but Joseph Ferrari, PhD, found 20 percent of his study participants suffer from chronic procrastination.

"One of my favorite sayings is, ‘Everyone procrastinates, but not everyone is a procrastinator,’" Ferrari, professor of psychology and Vincent dePaul Distinguished Professor at DePaul University, Chicago, Ill.

"We all put off tasks, but my research found that 20 percent of U.S. men and women are chronic procrastinators. They delay at home, work, school and in relationships. These 20 percent make procrastination their way of life," he said.

According to his research, the Northeast has the highest rate of chronic procrastinators, in Calif., Wash. and Ore.

Ferrari said that chronic procrastination is not a disorder itself, but could be an indication of an underlying disorder.

"We don’t view procrastination as a serious problem but as a common tendency to be lazy or dawdling. But we have shown in our research it is much, much more. For those chronic procrastinators, it is not a time management issue – it is a maladaptive lifestyle," he said.

Through his research, Ferrari found links from chronic procrastination to ADHD, passive-aggressive tendencies, revenge, obsessive-compulsive disorder and more. Suggesting chronic procrastination to bea red flag for individuals who may not realize they need help.

Ferrari advised to increase the carrot instead of relying on the stick, "I say reward for getting it (work) done early," he said during an interview with the American Psychological Association. Instead of punishing the individual for missed deadlines, try instituting rewards for early completion.

Address: American Psychological Association, 750 First Street NE, Washington DC 20002; (800) 374-2721, www.apa.org. De Paul University, 2320 North Kenmore Avenue, Chicago, IL 60614; (773) 687-1000, www.depaul.edu.


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