Social DisapprovalI recently read a study about perfectionism and  procrastination In College Students. The data showed a few things that I found interesting.

The study covered a handful of areas, but what caught my eye were the measures of academic procrastination and general procrastination as well as measures for socially prescribed perfectionism.

If you are not familiar with socially prescribed perfection it is where individuals feel others expect them to be perfect.

The study was conducted on about 130 students and they had to complete surveys with rating factors related to procrastination (i.e. Fear of failure, task aversion, etc…). What they found was that socially prescribed perfectionism was closely related with both generalized procrastination and academic procrastination, more prominently among males.

All in all , the study suggested at least in part that procrastination can stem from the anticipation of social disapproval from individuals with perfectionistic standards for others. In other words you put things off because you think other people will judge you if you fail.

When you are student and you are in  constant competition with your peers for grades, for sports, for scholarships, for relationships, for social acceptance, for everything. Your parents are in competition with their friends for bragging rights of who’s kid is doing better and they are talking behind the backs of other parents for who’s kid flunked out. Your parents probably don’t expect you to be perfect, but you certainly don’t want to hear there BS if you come up short on their expectations.

How do you ask for help on your issues when you believe that it will be interpreted as a sign of weakness or incompetence? This feeling exacerbates the procrastination problem.

I know the study was small, but it got me thinking about how many expectations you have as a college student. Trying to live up to your friends and your parents can be so much mounting pressure.

If this what you experience I would encourage you to seek your schools guidance counselor.  You can try to get some help in a judgement free zone without the added social pressures from people you know.

The Fear of Social Disapproval and The Effect on Procrastination
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8 thoughts on “The Fear of Social Disapproval and The Effect on Procrastination

  • May 6, 2017 at 8:05 pm
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    I currently struggle with this. I hadn’t really processed this as a procrastination issue. For me its social anxiety and then that leads to procrastination.

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    • May 7, 2017 at 5:17 pm
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      Hey Liv,

      I think thats pretty normal. My best advice is to breathe and focus inward to try and cope with your anxiety. While I am certainly not a doctor I can tell you from my own personal experience that mediating for even 2 minutes before I face a anxiety educing challenge helps me to take action and not to procrastinate.

      Tim

      Reply
  • April 29, 2017 at 12:39 am
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    Hi

    Thanks for sharing. This makes a ton of sense and I would imagine its effect runs really rampant at college where you can’t ever escape your friends. You live with them and see them at every meal. There is no reprieve from the pressure.

    -Ev

    Reply
  • April 25, 2017 at 12:44 am
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    I see some comments made about the effect on HS students. is there a study on that?

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    • April 29, 2017 at 12:46 am
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      I am not aware of study off hand, but i can do some research. Thanks for raising that. I am sure if there is a study that the results will be similar though.

      Tim

      Reply
  • April 23, 2017 at 12:37 am
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    I’m a freshmen at Dartmouth and this school is like high school, if you are smart they make fun of you and if you fail they make fun of you. Its hard to want to do anything and that’s what bothers me a ton.

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  • April 20, 2017 at 12:40 am
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    This totally applies to high school also.

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    • April 21, 2017 at 12:42 am
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      Hey Jackson,

      Yeah that certainly makes sense. anywhere their is peer pressure to perform. Thanks for reading the blog.

      -Tim

      Reply

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