Using the temporal motivation theory to explain the relation between ADHD and procrastination

Ruth Netzer Turgeman*, Yehuda Pollak

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objective: The relationship between ADHD and procrastination is recognised among therapists and educators. However, only a few studies confirm this correlation, and even fewer offer a theoretical explanation. A model of procrastination exists in Steel’s Temporal Motivation Theory, according to which procrastination is fostered by the following motivation factors: a low expectancy of completing the task successfully, negative task value, and impulsiveness–the sensitivity to the delay until realisation. This study aims to establish the correlation between procrastination and ADHD and examine whether these motivation factors explain this correlation. Method: Two hundred and two adult participants completed an online survey containing demographic background and scales of adult ADHD symptoms, procrastination, expectancy, task aversiveness, and impulsiveness. Results: ADHD symptoms significantly and positively correlated with procrastination, task aversiveness, and impulsiveness and negatively correlated with expectancy (all Ps <.001). Mediation analysis suggested that lower expectancy and higher impulsiveness partially explained the correlation between ADHD and procrastination. Conclusions: These findings help establish the strong relationship between ADHD and procrastination while demonstrating that the relationship is partially explained by a low expectancy of completing a task successfully and high levels of impulsiveness.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)448-456
Number of pages9
JournalAustralian Psychologist
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
  • impulsiveness
  • procrastination
  • task aversiveness
  • temporal motivation theory


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