Bringing the Psychology of Situations into Flow Research: Personality and Situation Characteristics as Predictors of Flow
Keywords:state flow, situation characteristics, DIAMONDS taxonomy, Big Five personality traits, employees, students
AbstractThe aim of the present study was to extend the existing findings on environmental flow precursors by adopting the DIAMONDS taxonomy of psychologically meaningful situation characteristics as a comprehensive theoretical framework. It was hypothesized that an individual's perception of the flow-related situation, particularly the dimensions of duty, intellect and positivity, would represent a more powerful predictor of the intensity of flow as compared to his or her basic personality traits. The first sample consisted of 169 employees who had to focus on the most engaging work-related event they had experienced in the past three months. They rated the characteristics of that situation and estimated the intensity of their flow experience. The second sample consisted of 96 students who participated in a challenging group activity. After the activity, they filled-in the same questionnaires as the first sample. Participants from both samples also rated their basic personality traits. Despite differences in the settings and flow-related situations evaluated, the obtained findings were similar for the two samples studied. While the association between flow and personality was weak, the situation characteristics were more strongly related to flow. Although the two samples differed with respect to the mean levels of the flow-related situation characteristics, regression analyses yielded similar results, suggesting that the intensity of flow at work and in studying is most prominently determined by situation characteristics related to intellect and positivity. Stable personality characteristics, on the other hand, had low predictive power in explaining the intensity of flow.