Author ORCID Identifier

Document Type

Theses, Masters

Master Thesis

Master thesis


5.1 PSYCHOLOGY, Social sciences

Publication Details

Submitted to the School of Humanities, TU Dublin (Blanchardstown), in fulfilment of the requirements leading to the award of MA (QQI Level 9), November 2022.


Academic procrastination involves the needless postponement of academic tasks at the expense of one’s academic goals. Informed by the principles of Acceptance Commitment Therapy, this study explored students’ experiences of academic procrastination in an Irish undergraduate sample. Over two studies, semi structured interviews were used to explore the common scenarios in which students tended to procrastinate, and also the scenarios which by contrast tended to motivate relatively immediate academic engagement. Study 1 involved interviewing twelve participants who had been recruited from online lectures. After noting the potential for self-selection bias in this recruitment strategy, study 2 specifically recruited seven participants in person who were engaging in academic procrastination at the time that they were recruited (i.e., recruited from an on campus recreational room where they were spending substantial time procrastinating their academic coursework). Findings highlighted an important new conceptual distinction between deliberately rationalised forms of academic procrastination (i.e., stories used to rationalise delaying academic work) and more impulsive forms of procrastination involving distraction. The observed interplay between these two types of procrastination not only explains how undergraduate students can become trapped in vicious and systematic cycles of procrastination; but these findings also highlight various ways in which one might interrupt such cycles, and indeed systematically replace them with virtuous cycles of academic engagement. As such, these findings have potentially important implications for the efficient deployment of university resources for both reducing rationalized forms of academic procrastination, and designing learning environments to reduce distraction.



Technological University Dublin

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.



Document Type

Master thesis