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Cultivating Psychological Determinants of Flow through Autonomy-Supportive Cognitive-Behavioural Training

  • In educational contexts, the deep and intrinsically rewarding engagement characteristic of being in flow is invaluable to the learning process. In addition to contributing to flourishing, psychological growth and development, flow is directly related to the frequency with which a student will actively vie to continue to use and extend their highest skills. A comprehensive framework delineating how to systematically cultivate flow would prove indispensable to those who aspire to optimise their performance or facilitate this strength in others. Still, little research has examined a systematic means of actively nurturing autonomous forms of motivational regulation to engage and the psychological strengths which underlie and promote flow in academic learning contexts. Therefore, the main objective of this small-scale descriptive pilot study was to ascertain the extent to which student-athletes could learn to wilfully cultivate dispositional flow states. It was presupposed that autonomy-supportive cognitive-behavioural training in a collaborative learning environment could in fact facilitate the process. The endeavour was thus approached by establishing a multimodal cognitive-behavioural training program designed to systematically cultivate the nine dimensions of flow. The study adhered to an explanatory sequential mixed methods research design. Thus, the 13 sport science students (four females and nine males) participating in the 12-week seminar completed pretest/posttest dispositional assessments of their locus of motivational regulation, their use of cognitive-behavioural performance enhancement strategies, and flow. In addition, six months subsequent to the intervention, structured interviews were conducted with a subset of the cohort and a thematic analysis of the resultant data set was conducted in an effort to both further interpret and elucidate the results yielded from the quantitative data set. Although the psychometric test findings did not yield unequivocal results, they demonstrated posttest increases in students’ intrinsic motivational regulation as well as their use of self-talk, activation, imagery, and attention control strategies. Finally, while all but two student-athletes reported an increase in their general propensity to experience unidimensional flow, unvarying results were not yielded across the multidimensional measures thereof. However, the thematic analysis provided evidence that the student-athletes believed that if employing performance strategies including a systematic goal setting process, arousal regulation, imagery, and self-talk, one can in fact cultivate flow if one wants to. Therefore, this study contributes to scholarship pertaining to understanding how to deliberately promote flow in similar higher learning contexts.

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Author:Penelope Ann-Scott Murdock
Place of publication:Hildesheim
Referee:Professor Dr. Norbert Grewe, Professor Dr. Peter Frei
Advisor:Professor Dr. Norbert Grewe, Professor Dr. Peter Frei
Document Type:Doctoral Thesis
Year of Completion:2017
Publishing Institution:Stiftung Universität Hildesheim
Granting Institution:Universität Hildesheim, Fachbereich I
Date of final exam:2017/03/15
Release Date:2017/03/31
Tag:Cognitive-behavioural training; Flow; Motivational regulation
Page Number:355 Seiten
DDC classes:100 Philosophie und Psychologie / 150 Psychologie / 158 Angewandte Psychologie
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung - Nicht kommerziell - Keine Bearbeitungen 4.0