Phenomenological differences between individual flow and group flow

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution - Published abstract for conference with selection processResearchpeer-review


  • Pia Zajonz
  • Ann-Christin Engler
  • Fabian Hofmann
  • Simon Gundermann
  • Michael Bynoe
  • Fabian Pels

Research units


Research suggests that the experience of individual flow (IF; as conceptualised by Csikszentmihalyi, 1990) might differ from the experience of group flow (GF; Hart & Di Blasi, 2013). Therefore, the aim of this study was to compare components of the GF experience and components of the IF experience in sport. Qualitative interviews were conducted with five experienced basketball players (Mage = 22 years, SD = 3.29). Based on a definition of IF and GF, participants were asked to remember own IF and GF situations. Subsequently, participants’ experiences of these situations were explored based on a semi-structured, open-ended interview guide which comprised the nine typical components of IF (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990) and four known GF components (Hart & Di Blasi, 2015). Data were analysed using content analysis. For IF situations, results show that all nine components of IF were found in the sample. “Action-awareness merging” and “transformation of time” are the most prominent characteristics. During IF, only few GF characteristics are present. For GF situations, results show that all four components of GF could be found, with “interactional synchrony” being the most prominent one. While describing the GF phenomenon, each participant mentioned several IF characteristics. In addition, there seem to be new elements playing a role in experiencing flow, e.g. self-confidence. In conclusion, the findings have implications for future research to better define the phenomenon of group flow and further investigate its experience in the sport context.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBuilding the future of sport and exercise psychology : Abstract book
Publication date07.2019
Publication statusPublished - 07.2019

ID: 4367458

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