Procrastination, discounting and personality traits relations to health behaviour

  • V. Silkane


Background: Health procrastination e.g., delayed or postponed visits to doctor, and avoidance of primary and secondary prevention, is a problem with serious consequences for both, a society and an individual. These behaviours result into number of issues: untreated illnesses, which demand longer and more complicated medical care, worse prognosis for recovery, higher costs of treatment, etc. Delay and postponing can be also linked to the health behaviour habits. Two most common explanations of procrastination are discounting and personality traits, while personality traits explain health behaviour. The goal of this study is to explore relations between procrastination, discounting, personality traits and health behaviour and to test, which of abovementioned concepts better predicts health behaviour. Method: The size of the sample n=275, the data were obtained using Big Five Inventory (John & Srivastava, 1999), Pure Procrastination Scale (Steel, 2010), as well as discounting questions and health behaviour scale designed for this study. Multiple regression was conducted to determine the best linear combination of procrastination, discounting and personality traits for predicting health behaviour. Findings: Conscientiousness, agreeableness, extraversion, openness, neuroticism, procrastination, and discounting significantly predicted health behaviour, F(7,267) = 15.64, p<.001, with all variables except openness significantly contributing to the prediction. Conscientiousness, agreeableness and procrastination contributed most to predicting health behaviour. Discussion: This study confirms the role of personality traits in health behaviour. Procrastination can partly predict health behaviour – higher level of procrastination is related to lower level of health behaviour.
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