Facilitating flow experience in physical education settings

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Objective:The present study aimed to examine the efficacy of an intervention program for fostering flow in a physical education (PE) setting.Design:A cluster-randomized control trial design was employed in the study.Method:A total of 135 college students (124 women and 11 men) participated in the study. Three PE classes were randomly allocated to two intervention groups (Class 1 [n = 47] and Class 2 [n = 41]) and one control group (Class 3: n = 47). Basketball was used as the major physical activity in both intervention and control conditions, and all participants played basketball in their PE lessons once a week for 10 weeks. The intervention program focused on increasing participants' abilities and awareness relating to the preconditions of a flow state (clear goals, unambiguous feedback, and challenge-skill balance). Participant's flow experience in each PE lesson was measured with the Japanese version of the Flow State Scale-2. Growth curve modeling was conducted on the situational flow scores.Results:Both intervention groups' global flow state scores in the first PE lesson (Week 1) were not different from that of the control group; however, both the intervention groups' global flow state scores increased significantly in later weeks (Weeks 7–10), compared to the control group.Conclusions:The present study was the first cluster-randomized control trial with a moderate sample size to foster flow in a PE setting. The findings of the study generally confirmed that the intervention program was successful in promoting flow in PE contexts.HighlightsAn intervention program associated to the proximal conditions of a flow state was proposed.This study was the first cluster-randomized control trial with a moderate sample size to foster flow in a PE setting.The effectiveness of the intervention was rigorously examined by analyzing longitudinal data with growth curve modeling.The intervention strategy was successful to support intervention groups in satisfying the proximal conditions of flow.These findings confirmed that the promotion of a flow state in PE contexts is possible through an intervention program.

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