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 than the PPS across international samples.

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:

One of the best recent reviews of the IPS is by Shaw and Zang (2021), who concluded that:

the IPS showed good reliability, content validity, structural validity, and substantive validity, and no DIF effects for gender. Based on the results of the current work together with previous validation studies using CTT (e.g., Svartdal et al., 2016Svartdal, 2017Kim et al., 2020), we thereby conclude that the IPS appears to be a compact scale with unidimensionality and the item fairness of the scale concerning gender allows for meaningful comparisons between population means in two gender groups, making it an appropriate instrument to assess individuals’ irrational procrastination

If you really want to use the PPS, I would recommend you rely on this 2017 publication: Irrational Delay Revisited: Examining Five Procrastination Scales in a Global Sample. With some excellent analysis by Frode Svartdal again, he found that the middle five items creates an “even purer procrastination scale.” In an interesting example of multiple discovery — published in the month following ours — this was also identified in the publication “Assessing Procrastination: Dimensionality and Measurement Invariance of the General Procrastination Scale.” These items are:

  1. In preparation for some deadlines, I often waste time by doing other things.
  2. Even jobs that require little else except sitting down and doing them, I find that they seldom get done for days.
  3. I often find myself performing tasks that I had intended to do days before
  4. I am continually saying “I’ll do it tomorrow.”
  5. I generally delay before starting on work I have to do.

Typically, assess them on a 1 to 5 scale of your choosing.

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.

See also:

Wypych, M., Matuszewski, J., & Dragan, W. Ł. (2018). Roles of Impulsivity, Motivation, and Emotion Regulation in Procrastination–Path Analysis and Comparison Between Students and Non-students. Frontiers in Psychology9.

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.

39 thoughts on “About the Measure

    1. Are you talking about the order in which they are presented or the items themselves? The order is arbitrary.

      1. Sorry, Dr. Steel, I find in (Steel, 2010)
        “My life would be better if I did some activities or tasks earlier.”
        but “I often regret not getting to tasks sooner.” in the website
        “I procrastinate.” in (Steel, 2010) but “There are aspects of my life that I put off, though I know I shouldn’t” in the website.

        I want to make sure weather the scale is fixed, because I want to translate it into my country’s language.

        Thank you very much for answering.

      2. Here’s the answer. Both are slightly reduced versions of the same scale. You can see the original 12 item version in my 2002 dissertation: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/33764842_The_Measurement_and_Nature_of_Procrastination
        There were some redundancy and we were exploring if there was a better subset. All items are there and these two essentially are parallel forms (having 7 items in common and 2 somewhat different), correlating together approaching one. Choose whatever version you like, or just the common 7 items. We found we could get a very good measure with just five items for the PPS.

    1. Steel, P., & Klingsieck, K. B. (2016). Academic procrastination: Psychological antecedents revisited. Australian Psychologist, 51(1), 36-46.

  1. Hello Dr. Steel,
    Thank you for sharing the great resources on procrastination measurement. Is there a Chinese version of the Irrational Procrastination Scale ready for our use? Thank you!

    1. Shaw, A., & Zhang, J. J. (2021). Psychometric Properties of the Chinese Irrational Procrastination Scale: Factor Structure and Measurement Invariance Across Gender. Frontiers in psychology, 4726.

  2. Hello Dr. Steel!

    I am an undergraduate student and I would like to check out both IPS and PPS to consult with my research adviser which scale should I utilize. I already sent you an email to ask for the norms and scoring but I was not able to receive a response. Hoping to hear from you.

    Thank you!

  3. Hello Dr. Steel, like the first comment in this section I would like ask for the norms and scoring for the PSS, however, I already emailed you and I did not receipt any response, thanks for take the time to read.

  4. Hello Dr. Steel! I have just sent you an email requesting the relevant documentation for the Pure Procrastination Scale as I intend on using it for my final year thesis. Kindly let me know if it is at all possible for you to send the documents through at your earliest convenience. Thanks in advance!

  5. Hello Dr Steel, I have just sent you an email requesting the relevant documentation for the Pure Procrastination Scale which I intend on using for my final year thesis. Please do let me know if it is possible at all for you to send the documents through to me. Thanks in advance!

  6. Hello Dr. Steel. I want to use your Pure Procrastination Scale for a college project, I needed the norms and scoring for it. Could you please share them? Thank you.

  7. Hello Dr. Steel. I am using your Pure Procrastination Scale (PPS). I cannot find the norms and scoring for the scale. Could you please share it? Thank you in advance.

  8. Hello Dr. Steel, I am planning to use the Irrational Procrastination Scale for my Masters’s level dissertation and was wondering if there are any norms available or scoring norms and if you would be kind enough to share it with me.
    The pandemic has been making things really difficult for students like me and please help me out.
    Thank you

  9. Hello Dr. Steel.

    I am using your Motivational Diagnostic Test as a scale in a research project for an undergraduate Advanced Research Methods Course. When interpreting the scores in a mutiple regression analysis would it make sense for me to total all 24 items in the scale for this regression? I am just a bit confused about the three different subscales, and how I would go about interpreting them as a whole for this scale.

    Thank you!

    1. No. They are separate dimensions and each deserve their own beta weights. Also, they don’t all run in the same direction.

  10. Dear dr. Steel,
    I’m using the Motivational Diagnostic Test for an assignment. Where exactly can I find the scoring of this test? I’m kind of confused about how to interpet the results. For example, my participant’s test score on expectancy is 27, on value is 23 and delay is 26. Thanks!

    1. Fair enough. Expectancy, value and impulsiveness are all in the second quintile, so between 20th and 40th percentile. While expectancy and value would ideally be higher, impulsiveness is somewhat below average and that is desirable.

  11. Hi Professor Pies Steel, I am a Psychology undergraduate student. I am writing a research proposal in arousal procrastination for one of my courses. How can I use your Irrational Procrastination Scale as the research material? Where can I download the full version? How many questions in total?

  12. Hello,
    I would also like to use the Pure Procrastination Scale and can’t find it online. I would thank you greatly if you could send it to me or post it.

      1. Hey sir, i need to confirm that if you please tell me that is the irrational procrastination scale is developed by you.? Information is much needed so could you please reply as soon as possible……… Thanks

  13. 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.

  14. 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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