Absorbed in the moment? An investigation of procrastination, absorption and cognitive failures
Mood-repair conceptualizations of procrastination suggest that regulation of immediate mood is prioritized over instrumental action towards goals. The aim of the current research was to examine how and why absorption - a mindset reflecting a responsiveness to engaging stimuli - may account for procrastinators' tendency to focus on immediately rewarding activities at the cost of their long term goals, and the cognitive implications of being absorbed in the moment. Across two student samples (Study 1: N=103; Study 2: N= 339) procrastination was associated with absorption. A bootstrapping analysis of the indirect effects of procrastination on absorption through state anxiety in Study 1 was significant supporting the hypothesized role of absorption as a vulnerability towards mood-regulating distractions for procrastinators. In Study 2 small but significant indirect effects of procrastination on cognitive failures through absorption emerged, supporting the proposition that absorption may have a cognitive toll for procrastinators. Taken together, these findings suggest a cognitive escape hypothesis to explain how procrastinators deal with negative moods, and provides new insights into the factors and processes that contribute to the self-regulation difficulties that characterize trait procrastination. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.