The Phasic Nature of Flow in High Risk Recreation


  • Susan Houge Queenstown Resort College & University of Otago
  • Ken Hodge University of Otago
  • Mike Boyes University of Otago


This research project investigated the phasic nature of flow experiences in high risk recreation. Flow Theory (e.g., Csikszentmihalyi, 1975; Nakamura & Csikszentmihalyi, 2005) is a general psychological model that addresses optimal experiences from a motivational standpoint. Flow theorists contend that optimal experiences hinge upon the subjective evaluation of current challenges and skills (e.g., Martin & Jackson, 2008). This project sought to evaluate fluctuations in flow dimensions and their relationship to enjoyment and other subjective aspects of participants' experiences in the context of high risk recreation. Specifically, the phasic nature of flow experiences was investigated temporally with regard to these concepts in the short term (i.e., within a single experience), the medium term (i.e., over a number of days), and the long term (i.e., throughout a career).