Psychological Correlates of Flow in Sport

in Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
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  • 1 University of Queensland
  • 2 University of Melbourne
  • 3 Miami University
  • 4 University of Western Sydney
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The purpose of this study was to examine possible psychological correlates of flow in a sample of older athletes. Both state and trait, or dispositional flow states, were examined. Masters athletes completed questionnaire assessments on two occasions while competing at an international masters sport competition. The participants (398) completed a questionnaire assessing intrinsic/extrinsic motivation, goal orientation, trait anxiety, perceived ability, and typical flow experiences (trait) when participating in sport. Of these participants, 213 completed a questionnaire after and in relation to one event they competed in at the Games. This second questionnaire assessed state flow, as well as perceptions of success, skills, and challenges in a selected sport event. Correlational and multivariate analyses were conducted to examine psychological correlates of state and trait flow. Patterns of relationships were found between flow and perceived ability, anxiety, and an intrinsic motivation variable. Understanding flow and its relationship with other psychological variables are discussed.

Susan A. Jackson is with the School of Human Movement Studies, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, QLD 4059, Australia. Jay C. Kimiecik is with the Department of Physical Education, Health, and Sports Studies, Miami University, Oxford, OH 45056. Stephen K. Ford is with the Department of Psychology, University of Melbourne, Victoria 3052, Australia. Herbert W. Marsh is with the Faculty of Education, University of Western Sydney, Campbelltown, NSW 2560, Australia.

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