Are you a procrastinator? You’re more likely to be depressed, unhealthy and broke, study suggests


Are you a procrastinator? You’re more likely to be depressed, unhealthy and broke, study suggests

  • Researchers from Stockholm recruited 3,500 students from eight colleges 
  • Found those who regularly put off doing things had host of issues in their lives
  • While some tend to procrastinate a little, for others it’s their ‘general disposition’

Charles Dickens famously said procrastination is the thief of time.

Now scientists think it can also steal your sleep, damage your health and leave you worse off financially.

A study of 3,500 Swedish students found those who regularly put off doing things had an increased risk of poor sleep, lack of exercise and getting into financial difficulty.

Experts believe this is because although most people have the tendency to procrastinate a little, for others it is their ‘general disposition’ and can affect how well they do in life.

Scientists think procrastination can also steal your sleep, damage your health and leave you worse off financially (file image)

Those who often ‘delayed an intended course of action despite expecting to be worse off’, risk everything from poorer academic achievements to general health, the study suggests.

Researchers from the University in Stockholm recruited students from eight universities studying everything from social sciences and technology to economics and medicine.

They chose students as the high levels of freedom and low structure of university life puts ‘high demands on their capacity to self-regulate’.

They were asked to rate a series of lifestyle questions ranging from one ‘very rarely or does not represent me’ to five ‘very often or always represents me’ over a nine-month period, the equivalent of an academic year.

This came up with their procrastination score, which was then measured against physical, mental and psychosocial health issues, such as loneliness.

Using the average as the baseline, they found for every increase of one in the procrastination score, people were 13 per cent more likely to be depressed, according to results published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

Those who dallied were also 15 per cent more likely to suffer from economic difficulties and less likely to do exercise or sleep well, the researchers found.

The authors conclude: ‘This suggests that procrastination is associated with subsequent mental health problems, disabling pain, unhealthy lifestyle behaviours, and worse psychosocial health factors. 

‘Considering that procrastination is prevalent among university students, these findings may be of importance to enhance the understanding of students’ health.’

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