New research at the University of Wollongong will explore how group-based interventions can change a person’s conscientiousness.

Clinical PhD candidate Jonathan Allan is carrying out the research and said the strategies developed in the study aim to change unhelpful thinking and behavioural patterns in participants, as well as address specific issues, including procrastination.

“We want to teach participants skills to help them be more self-disciplined, organised and goal-oriented,” Mr Allan said.

“It’s important because those traits are effective in helping them get what they want to get done and head towards what they want to achieve in life.”

What is conscientiousness?

Conscientiousness implies someone who is hard-working with a desire to do a task well.

Highly conscientious people are efficient and organised, as opposed to easy-going and disorderly.

How the interventions will work

Clinical PhD student, Jonathan Allan, wants to use group interventions to improve the conscientiousness of participants as well as addressing issues such as procrastination

Clinical PhD student, Jonathan Allan, wants to use group interventions to improve the conscientiousness of participants as well as addressing issues such as procrastination.

The interventions will see three facilitators work with a group of 15 people.

The first stage involves an assessment of participants to see assess their levels conscientiousness.

From there, participants will be assessed on what they consider important and value, including life, family or attaining a dream job.

After this, the values will be used to create life goals that are more aligned to what is important to the participants and who they want to be.

The procrastination aspect

Procrastination is the practice of carrying out less urgent tasks in preference to more urgent ones, or doing more pleasurable things in place of less pleasurable ones.

It is a common behaviour among people who have a low conscientiousness level.

Mr Allan Jonathan explained this in terms of a university assignment, and cited the importance of seeing the true purpose of what you are doing as a way of staying motivated.

“Sometimes with a university assignment, you may not see the relevance in it and you’ll therefore put it off because you deem it not important,” he said.

“However, that assignment is simply something you need to do in order to gain the education and skills you may need in order to get that dream job.

“So if you can look at an assignment, see its value and realise it will help you achieve what’s important to you; then that’s an excellent way to combat procrastination, because you’re seeing the true value in what you’re doing.”

If you would like to participate in this research you can contact Jonathan at jaa761@uowmail.edu.au.

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