Situational and Personal Determinants of Flow Experience in Everyday Life
Keywords:flow, challenge, skills, BIS/BAS scale, experience sampling method
AbstractThe aim of this paper was to explore some situation-level and person-level determinants of flow experience in everyday life. It was examined to what extent perceived challenge, perceived skills and their relationship predict flow experience through various daily situations. Furthermore, it was explored to what extent behavioral inhibition and activation dimensions of temperament explain interindividual differences in a tendency to experience flow and whether they moderate the relationship between preconditions for flow and flow experience. A total of 102 female students aged 18 to 27 participated in this study. Diary study was based on experience sampling method. Prompted by a randomly scheduled signal ten times per day during one week, participants recorded their current affective states and perceptions of a current situation. After exclusion of data with potentially reduced reliability and validity, main analyses were conducted on a sample of experiences from the total of 2800 measurements points, collected by 70 participants. Dimensions of temperament were measured using BIS/BAS scale (Carver & White, 1994). Results showed that with the increasing perception of challenge and perception of skills, on average, a level of flow increases. However, these preconditions did not have the same effects on flow in all situations nor between different individuals. The level of BAS-Drive was positively correlated with the average level of flow. Furthermore, with higher levels of BIS, perception of challenge contributed less to the flow. Findings suggest that dimensions of temperament can explain some interindividual differences in the tendency to experience flow, but also the relative importance of these preconditions in the prediction of flow experience.