Life values, active procrastination, and psychological wellbeing

Prof Richard Hicks

People’s life values are thought to be inherently positive forces for decision making and giving direction to life. Some values may clash with society or workplace environments. But decision making is not always easy in complex and confusing times. This can lead to delay of decision making, or what many people would call procrastination.

Procrastination in the workplace and among students is thought to be associated generally with negative wellbeing. However, according to recent studies procrastination may be either passive (the ‘old-style’ procrastination) or active. Little is known about the new approach or whether active procrastination is healthy– nor is much known about whether purposeful life values (such as those proposed in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy- ACT) are related to active procrastination and/or psychological wellbeing.

Richard will present information on the relationships among life values, active procrastination and wellbeing from a survey of 120 university students. The survey package involved use of the new ACT Values Questionnaire, the 2004 Active and Passive Procrastination Scales, and the Ryff Psychological Wellbeing Scale.

Results show generally positive relationships. Essentially findings suggest traditional (passive) procrastination is unhealthy; and active procrastination may be healthy: strongest relationships are found between life values, meaning and psychological wellbeing. Use of the Values
Questionnaire as part of counselling and psychotherapy to help re-orient decision making and direction may be helpful for many in their personal and work lives.

Prof Richard Hicks, Professor of Psychology, Bond University will present at the:

13th International Mental Health Conference, “Positive Change — Investing in Mental Health”  6th to the 8th of August 2012, on the Gold Coast.

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