How basic need satisfaction and dispositional motives interact in predicting flow experience in sport


Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Julia Schüler, Department of Sport Sciences, University of Berne, Switzerland. E-mail:


We have integrated the basic psychological needs approach from self-determination theory with motive disposition theory in order to enhance the prediction of flow experience in sports. We hypothesize that an environment that enables people to fulfill their basic psychological needs for competence and social relatedness results in flow. Additionally, we assume that the effect of competence need satisfaction is moderated by the achievement motive and that the effect of need-for-relatedness satisfaction is moderated by the affiliation motive. Four studies show the expected positive effects of need satisfaction on flow and further confirm that high achievement and affiliation-motivated individuals benefit more from competence and relatedness sports environments, respectively, than individuals low in these motives.