About the Measure

The Pure Procrastination Scale

iStock_000014033663MediumSo you want to do our own research study on procrastination. Here’s the scale you have been looking for, the  Irrational Procrastination Scale (IPS). Feel free to use it for any research purpose or clinical purposes and adjust the scale length or anchors as you see fit; these tend to make minimal differences in a scale’s validity.

It correlates with The Pure Procrastination Scale (PPS) at .96, which has been assessed and validated with the use of a global sample  in “Arousal, avoidant and decisional procrastinators: Do they exist” (Steel, 2010). However, more recent work by Svartdal et al. (2016) indicates the IPS holds together much better the PPS across international samples, as well as recommends a short five item subset that works well.

Utilizing an internet sampling method, the measure was tested using 16,413 adults in eight English-speaking countries (58.3% Women, 41.7% men) with an age mean and standard deviation of 38.3 and 14 years. According to this study, procrastination tendencies were associated mostly with age, gender, marital status, education, and nationality. The average procrastination scores for men and women were 3.65 and 3.5, respectively. Procrastinators were mostly among young, single-men with less education and resided in countries with lower levels of discipline. For more normative information, an epidemiological study  of procrastination using this measure (“Sex, education and procrastination“) was  published in the European Journal of Personality  (Steel & Ferrari, 2013).

These procrastination measures was translated to other languages and its validity was assessed in several studies:

Besides these translations,  Greek and Spanish translations are also in progress.

Motivational Diagnostic Test

In addition to the procrastination measure, the Motivational Diagnostic Test is available, which can be used in order to find the motivational mechanisms that contribute to procrastination. The diagnostic measure is built upon the Temporal Motivational Theory. According to this theory, three factors can increase the likelihood of procrastination:

  1. Expectancy: Lower expectancies of success can result in higher degrees of procrastination
  2.  Value: Tasks that have lower values (i.e., less interesting) from an individual’s perspective are usually postponed to a later time
  3. Impulsivity: Higher levels of impulsivity can make the person act upon short-term temptations instead of focusing on long-term goals.

To evaluate the ability of these factors to predict procrastination, the Motivational Diagnostic Test  was administered to 1,279 respondents along with two measures of procrastination, including the Irrational Procrastination Scale (Steel, 2010), and the UPPS impulsive behavior scale (Whiteside & Lynam, 2001). The sample comprised of 50.3% male and 49.7% women with a mean age of 33 years. The reliability measures were high with .83 for Expectancy, .84 for Value, and .83 for Impulsiveness. The results showed that the three factors of expectancy, value,  and impulsivity accounted for 49% of the variance in procrastination. The results also highlighted the fact that procrastination is mostly driven by impulsiveness, even though expectancy and value have influence on it as well. Impulsiveness either in the form of frequent distraction by short-term goals or lack of perseverance towards long-term goals can result in procrastination among people.

This research and measure was presented at the 7th Procrastination Research Conference Biennial Meeting in Amsterdam, Netherlands:

Steel, P. (2011). A diagnostic measure of procrastination. Paper presented at the 7th Procrastination Research Conference Biennial Meeting, Counseling the Procrastinator in Academic Settings, Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Again, you can freely use both the procrastination scale and the diagnostic test for either research or clinical purposes.


Rebetez, M. M. L., Rochat, L., Gay, P., & Van der Linden, M. (2014). Validation of a French version of the Pure Procrastination Scale (PPS). Comprehensive Psychiatry55(6), 1442-1447.

Rozental, A., Forsell, E., Svensson, A., Forsström, D., Andersson, G., & Carlbring, P. (2014). Psychometric evaluation of the Swedish version of the pure procrastination scale, the irrational procrastination scale, and the susceptibility to temptation scale in a clinical population. BMC psychology,2(1), 54.

Steel, P. (2010). Arousal, avoidant and decisional procrastinators: Do they exist? Personality and Individual Differences, 48, 926-934.

Steel, P., & Ferrari, J. (2013). Sex, education and procrastination: an epidemiological study of procrastinators’ characteristics from a global sample. European Journal of Personality, 27(1), 51-58.

Whiteside, S., & Lynam, D. (2001). The Five Factor Model and impulsivity: Using a structural model of personality to understand impulsivity. Personality and Individual Differences, 30(4), 669-689.

4 thoughts on “About the Measure

  1. I fall in the top list of procrastination scale.. i want to get out of it. But till d time i realise that iam doing wrong, there comes unavoidable circumstance that i have to delay it even if i dont want to. And later i forget it.

  2. After reading Steel’s study (2010), I believe the scale available under “Pure Procrastionation Scale” at the top is actually Irrational Procrastionation from the study, not the PPS so watch out (and preferably fix it)!

      1. Hello! I would like to use the Pure Procrastination Scale but I cannot find it online! Please, if you can, will you send it to me or post it?

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