Advancing our understanding of psychological flow: A scoping review of conceptualizations, measurements, and applications

Cameron Norsworthy, Ben Jackson, James A. Dimmock

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Research on psychological flow is well established, although criticisms remain regarding conceptual and measurement issues associated with the construct. This scoping review maps flow-related research across scientific disciplines, examining the conceptualization, measurement instruments, and outcomes of flow between 2012 and 2019. Across 236 sources that met the review criteria, 108 different flow-related constructs were measured by 141 instruments, and 84 possible antecedents were identified. Despite the varied approaches, a common set of overarching antecedent constructs included "optimal challenge" and "high motivation," and recurring characteristics of the flow experience itself included "absorption," "effort-less control," and "intrinsic reward." Applied studies-albeit inconsistent in approach and largely correlational in nature-predominantly linked flow to "positive development" (i.e., well-being and health), "high functioning," and "further engagement." We contextualize the findings of the review relative to important work on flow that has recently emerged (following the review period)-in doing so, we hope this review offers a contemporary framework that can be used for the study of flow across scientific disciplines. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)806-827
Number of pages22
JournalPsychological Bulletin
Volume147
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2021

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