Study goals and procrastination tendencies at different stages of the undergraduate degree

Martyn Stewart, Tim Stott, Anne-Marie Nuttall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Study goals and effective management of study time are both linked to academic
success for undergraduates. Mastery goals in particular are associated with study
enjoyment and positive educational outcomes such as conceptual change.
Conversely, poor self-regulation, in the form of procrastination, is linked to a
range of negative study behaviours. Many researchers have treated goal
orientations and procrastination tendency as stable traits and few have examined
differences across academic levels. This study reports a cross-sectional measure
of study goal orientation and procrastination tendency profiles at different
academic levels on two undergraduate programmes. Findings concur with other
studies in revealing a significant decline in mastery goals, particularly between
the first and second years of study. Procrastination tendency is significantly
higher in the second year. Potential causes of these differences and their
implications are discussed, alongside considerations for positive learning
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalStudies in Higher Education
Publication statusPublished - 13 Feb 2015


  • education
  • motivation
  • study orientation
  • learning environment


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