Researchers found that of more than 3,500 college students they followed, those who scored high on a procrastination scale were more likely to report certain health issues nine months later. The list included body aches, poor sleep, and depression and anxiety symptoms.
Experts said the findings do not prove that procrastination, per se, directly caused those problems — by, for example, delaying a medical visit and allowing a niggling health issue to worsen.
In his own research, Ferrari has found that about 20% of adults qualify as chronic procrastinators — making it more prevalent than mental health disorders like depression and phobias.
According to Ferrari, a form of talk therapy called cognitive behavioral therapy can help the chronic procrastinator address the roots of the problem.
Johansson agreed, noting there is clinical trial evidence supporting the effectiveness of cognitive behavioral therapy.
"It requires some effort," Johansson said, "so it is not something you can do while trying to meet a specific deadline. But the evidence suggests that even procrastinators can change their behavior."