Cross-sectional studies have documented a positive association between academic procrastination and problematic mobile phone use (PMPU). However, the specific predictive direction has remained controversial and the potential mechanisms underlying the association have not been rigorously evaluated. According to Davis's cognitive-behavioral model, Brand et al.’s I-PACE model, and procrastination-related theories, academic procrastination and PMPU might have a reciprocal relationship and distraction cognitions might play a mediating role in this process. A total of 633 secondary school students completed three self-report questionnaires at three 6-month intervals over the course of 1.5 years. The cross-lagged panel model results showed that earlier academic procrastination positively predicted subsequent PMPU over time, but the reverse prediction was not stable. Furthermore, distraction cognitions played a mediating role in linking earlier academic procrastination and subsequent PMPU. These findings indicate that academic procrastination precedes PMPU with distraction cognitions as a potential mediator, which contributes to clarifying the controversial relationship and explicating the underlying mechanism. Overall, interventions for academic procrastination may be effective in reducing maladaptive cognitions associated with mobile phones and preventing adolescents from developing PMPU.
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- Academic procrastination
- Cross-lagged panel model
- Distraction cognitions
- Problematic mobile phone use