International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

Predicting and Differentiating Flow Experience in Sport: The Contribution of Dispositional and State Variables

Flow is characterized by positive affect, centering of attention, absorption, spontaneous action, total immersion in performing an activity, having the athlete an immediate and unambiguous feedback about his/her performance. The purpose of the current study was to examine whether sport-specific cognitive schemata (trait and state variables) constitute significant predictors of flow states, and second whether significant differences exist in flow experience based on the balance between challenge of the competition and athletes’ skills. Two hundred and seventy five (275) athletes ranging in age from sixteen (16) to twenty nine (29) years (M= 19.40, SD=3.10) (158 males, 117 females). The athletes who volunteered participated in the study, filled in the Trait-Sport Confidence Inventory, the Perception of Success Questionnaire, the Sport Anxiety Scale-II based on how they usually feel when they compete in sports. One hour before the competition the athletes completed the Competitive State anxiety Inventory-2 (intensity and direction), the challenge of the game, and the skills of the athlete, whereas just after the competition the athletes complete the Flow State Scale-2 based on how they felt during the competition. Athletes in the flow and relaxation quadrants revealed the most optimal states, whereas the athletes in the apathy groups showed the least optimal state. Hierarchal regression analysis demonstrated significant prediction of athletes’ flow experience based on dispositional (confidence, task orientation) and state variables (self-confidence, direction of anxiety symptoms). The results of the present study provide fruitfully information to the athletes, coaches, and sport psychology consults regarding the link of personal and situational characteristics in the experience of optimal mental state.

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