A mixed method investigation of the relationship between mental toughness and flow in sport.

Jackman, Patricia, Crust, Lee and Swann, Christian (2016) A mixed method investigation of the relationship between mental toughness and flow in sport. In: The British Psychological Society, Division of Sport and Exercise Psychology Annual Conference, 12-13 Dec 2016, Cardiff.

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Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Poster)
Item Status:Live Archive


Objectives: Flow and mental toughness (MT) are concepts commonly associated with superior performance
functioning in sport. While previous studies have investigated the relationship between MT and flow, this study
sought to ascertain a more detailed understanding of this relationship by utilising a mixed method approach to
examine the flow experiences of individuals with higher / lower MT soon after repeated performances.
Design: A mixed method design was utilised to explore individual experiences of flow in athletes with higher / lower
Methods: An intensity sampling strategy using a questionnaire to identify individuals with higher / lower MT acted
as a prelude to the main data collection phase. Sixteen individuals (female n = 11; male n = 5) participated in a mixed
method investigation of flow experiences. Participants completed a questionnaire assessing flow within 24-hours of
five consecutive competitive performances (total observations = 83), and forty event-focused interviews (M length =
45 minutes) were conducted as soon as possible following the occurrence of flow (M = 4.5 days). Data were initially
interpreted using within-case and then cross-case analysis.
Results: Although the process of entering flow was similar for higher / lower MT participants, differences in the
psychosocial interactions underlying the transition into and out of flow were evident between groups. Intraindividual
differences concerning the situations in which individuals experienced flow emerged.
Conclusion: Findings support previous research by highlighting that differences exist in the flow experience of
individuals with higher and lower MT which may have applied implications for researchers, coaches, athletes and

Keywords:optimal experience, qualitative research, case-study
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C890 Psychology not elsewhere classified
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Sport and Exercise Science
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ID Code:25916
Deposited On:03 Feb 2017 09:17

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