Does Procrastination Lead to Mental Health Issues?


Seamus McPherson

Procrastination is something that nearly all students have experienced. However, the momentary break may lead to much more negative consequences.

Seamus McPherson, Staff Writer

A recent study conducted on 3,525 students at eight different Swedish universities found higher levels of procrastination lead to increased levels of mental health issues.

The study used a procrastination scale where students had to rank themselves from 1 (Rarely procrastinate) to 5 (Very often) on how often they procrastinate. This summed to a total range of 5-25. The higher your number the more you procrastinate.

This research was conducted from Aug. 19, 2019, to Dec. 15, 2021. Where at the end of the study students who procrastinated more saw a slight increase in levels of depression, anxiety, and stress levels, compared to other students who didn’t see a rise in procrastination.

Effects of procrastination were not limited to mental health only, as those same students also expressed getting less sleep and physical activity along with neck and back pain. This makes procrastination an endless cycle where the longer you stay the deeper you fall.

“Over the pandemic, my procrastination hit an all-time high. While I did feel some of these things, mainly I felt a disconnect from school. It just hit a point where I didn’t care about anything,” Matthew Lowery (‘23) said.

The main form of procrastination is people pushing off tasks for a couple of minutes. More than likely everyone has done this at least once in their life. However, procrastination becomes a problem when it starts to leak into everyday activities repeatedly.

“Trying to stop procrastinating is much easier said than done, even though I haven’t personally had extreme procrastination. The people around feel like they have no future while in the extreme.” Andrew Mann (‘23) stated.

It has been assumed before the study. Half of all university students fall into constant procrastination.

“I hate that I do it… Every time I’m about to work on something some excuse gets made not to work. I don’t why I do because I can recognize it giving me added anxiety about school, but I still do it.” Benjamin Cable (‘24) said. 

It’s important to remember the sample size the study is using is relatively small compared to the hundreds of millions of university students around the world. So, without further research, concrete lines can’t be drawn between procrastination and mental health issues.

Even the study admits the direct correlation between procrastination and mental health issues are “rather weak” and it’s more likely that stress and other factors from procrastination enhance the effects of pre-existing conditions.

****Editor’s note: this story came out two days past the deadline.