Predictors of flow in recreational participants at a large group event

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
David A. Henning (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Jennifer Etnier

Abstract: The concept of "flow" as it relates to performance was first introduced and described in the 1970's by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. When experiencing flow during a particular task, an individual is focused on and consumed with the task the individual is currently involved in. In sport and physical activity, flow has been related to increased enjoyment and performance. Previous research on flow in physical activity has primarily focused on elite level athletes. However, it is expected that flow can be experienced by anyone during almost any activity. The purpose of this research is to observe flow in recreationally active individuals and attempt to identify potential personal predictors of flow such as age and gender. The results of this study will provide insight into factors that influence flow as well as inform future research in the field. The results demonstrated that the recreational participants (n=144) experienced a significantly greater level of flow than the population means provided for the Flow State Scale (FSS-2), t (143) = 12.79, p = .000 this is an exciting finding; showing that recreationally active individuals are a viable sample for conducting future research on flow. Ages of participants (18-61) was not observed to be an insignificant predictor to experiencing flow p < .05. There was however, a significant difference in flow as a function of gender, f (1,142) = 1.65, p < .05. When looking at the gender effects of flow it was observed that not all of the 9 dimensions were significant: Concentration, Loss of Self Consciousness, Time Transformation, and the Autotelic Experience dimensions each had insignificant differences between gender and flow, male participants had significantly greater level of global flow, and in the other five dimensions: Challenge-Skill Balance, Action-Awareness Merging, Clear Goals, Unambiguous Feedback, Sense of Control. The results of this study may be used to design future testing methods in flow research, designed to isolate the experience of the unique dimensions of flow. Additionally these findings can inform program designs looking into researching flow, in that flow can be observed significantly in recreationally active adults of almost any age after an acute rigorous group activity. Future research could aim to reproduce these findings at different recreational group events, or even in the lab setting, and further observe the effects of the nine dimensions of flow.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2013
Age, Flow, Gender, Group, Predictors, Recreational
Recreation $x Psychological aspects
Sports $x Psychological aspects

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