Flow has been described within sport psychology as an optimal state underpinning peak performance. However, the consequences of experiencing flow may not always be beneficial. One negative consequence might be that of contributing to dependence on the activity that interacts with, or is associated with, the flow experience. This study explored the dichotomous consequences of flow, using case studies of big wave surfers. Fifteen elite surfers completed in-depth, semistructured interviews. It seems clear from the results that the surfers experienced positive consequences of flow. However, they also exhibited symptoms of dependence on surfing. It is suggested that there may be an association between the experience of dimensions of flow and the compulsion to engage in an activity. Some specific recommendations for further research into the relationship between flow and exercise dependence are made.
Sarah Partington, Elizabeth Partington and Steve Olivier
Andrew C. Sparkes and Sarah Partington
Narrative practice is an approach that enables researchers to alternately focus on the whats and hows of meaningful social interaction. The potential benefits of utilizing this approach in sport psychology are highlighted by focusing on the area of flow as an exemplar. It is suggested that the majority of work on flow has focused on the whats rather than on the equally important hows of this phenomenon. To illustrate the ways in which a concern for the hows of narrative practice can provide different insights into flow, data are provided from an interview-based study of a white water canoeing club. The findings suggest that describing flow is a relational performance, which is shaped by a number of narrative resources and auspices that operate differently according to gender.
Fran Longstaff, Nick Heather, Susan Allsop, Elizabeth Partington, Mark Jankowski, Helen Wareham, A. St Clair Gibson and Sarah Partington
This study examined whether students engaged in university sport have different drinking outcome expectancies and normative beliefs than students who are not engaged in university sport. A cross-sectional survey of university students in England in 2008–2009 was undertaken. A questionnaire battery, including the Drinking Expectancies Questionnaire (DEQ) and a measure of normative beliefs, was completed by 770 students from seven universities across England. Responses from 638 students who were not abstaining from alcohol were analyzed. Students engaged in university sport have significantly higher drinking expectancies of assertion compared with students not engaged in university sport. Moreover, students engaged in university sport consistently report higher personal alcohol consumption and higher perceptions of consumption in those around them than students not engaged in university sport. Both assertion and the perception that students around them drink heavily provide only a partial explanation for why students engaged in university sport drink more than those not engaged in university sport. Further research is required to identify the reasons for heavy drinking among students involved in university sport in England.