Previous research has shown that the effects of basic psychological needs on the flow experience in sports are moderated by implicit motives. However, so far, only leisure and health-oriented sports have been analyzed. In a pilot study and a main study (N = 29, 93), we tested whether the implicit achievement and affiliation motives interact with the need for competence and the need for social relatedness satisfaction, respectively, to predict flow experience and well-being in extreme endurance athletes. Results showed that highly achievement-motivated individuals benefited more from the need for competence satisfaction in terms of flow than individuals with a low achievement motive did. In addition, highly affiliation-motivated individuals whose need for social relatedness is satisfied reported higher positive affect and lower exercise addiction scores than athletes with a low motive. We discuss the differential effects of the interplay between the achievement and affiliation motives and basic needs on different outcome variables.
Julia Schüler and Mirko Wegner are with the Institute of Sport Science, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland. Beat Knechtle is with the Institute of General Practice and Health Services Research, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland. Address author correspondence to Julia Schüler at firstname.lastname@example.org.