Flow in Academic Activities and Students' Well-Being

Majda Rijavec, Tajana Ljubin Golub


Flow is a highly enjoyable state people feel when they are so focused on a task that it amounts to complete absorption in an activity. The essential condition for flow state to occur is the balance between challenges and skills, with both individual's challenges and skills being above the average. Flow had been studied mostly in leisure activities, but people can also experience flow in obligatory activities, as well as in the activities with less freedom of choice, such as work or education. The positive consequences of flow include not only better achievement, but also higher levels of wellbeing. In educational context, flow was found to be related to various positive outcomes, including progress through the school curriculum, better achievement and higher well-being. In a population of college students, flow state in academic activities is less frequent than flow in other areas of students' life (such as leisure, maintenance or part-time job), but the relationship between flow in academic domain and well-being is the strongest. This paper summaries studies of academic flow in college populations, especially those dealing with possible explanations of this relationship such as the importance and usefulness of academic activities for future life goals, the development of social identity and reducing academic stress and burnout.


academic flow; well-being; social identity; academic stress; students


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