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In this exploratory study, we examined hypothesized antecedents (basic psychological needs) and consequences (dispositional flow) of athlete engagement (AE); plus the extent to which AE mediated the relationship between basic needs and flow. Structural equation modeling with a sample of 201 elite Canadian athletes (60.20% female, mean age = 22.92 years) showed that needs satisfaction (particularly competence & autonomy) predicted athlete engagement (30% explained variance); and needs satisfaction and athlete engagement predicted dispositional flow (68% explained variance). AE partially mediated the relationship between needs satisfaction and flow. Practical suggestions are offered for needs-supportive coaching programs designed to increase both AE and flow.
Hodge is with the School of Physical Education, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand. Lonsdale is with the School of Physiotherapy and Performance Science, University College, Dublin, Ireland. Jackson is with the School of Human Movement Studies, University of Queensland, Queensland, Australia.