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Individuals with Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) have difficulty engaging in social situations because their actions are predicated on minimizing the subjectively biased high potential for rejection. That is, individuals with SAD frequently perceive social situations as challenging, and their performance as subpar. Yet when individuals perceive themselves as succeeding in challenging situations, they typically report these situations as enjoyable and rewarding. This subjective experience of succeeding in a challenging situation has been studied as flow (Csikszentmihalyi, 1975; 2000). Thirty-three adults with SAD and 34 matched healthy controls completed a baseline assessment, along with daily and experience sampling entries for 14 days. Results were analyzed using three-level generalized linear mixed effects models, with observations nested within days, nested within participants. Although individuals with and without SAD experienced the same frequency of flow in daily life, social situations led to proportionally more flow in participants with SAD than healthy controls. Both results were unexpected, and reasons for them are explored at length. Several experiential variables (positive emotions during and importance ascribed to the event) predicted the probability of flow during each situation. These results offer intervention-relevant suggestions for how individuals may benefit from seeking out challenging situations that offer maximal rewards.
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... Although behaviors such as polite smiles, directing gaze downward, restricting speech in conversation, and speaking softly may serve to reduce anxiety in the moment, they have been associated with negative perceptions from observers and decreased willingness among peers to re-engage the individual in conversation in a lab setting, particularly in ambiguous social tasks (130)(131)(132). Perhaps the most extreme behavior in the repertoire of individuals with SAD to down-regulate anxiety is to avoid social situations altogether (133), resulting in fewer opportunities to build relationships with others and inadvertently confirming perceptions of one's lack of social value. Thus, these interpersonal deficits may both impair the development of new relationships and interfere with the development of greater intimacy and safety in existing relationships, thus perpetuating perceptions of social threat due to lack of a close and connected relationships. ...
Social anxiety disorder (SAD) is a prevalent and often debilitating psychiatric disorder that can assume a chronic course even when treated. Despite the identification of evidence-based pharmacological and behavioral treatments for SAD, much room for improved outcomes exists and 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) has been proposed as a promising adjunctive treatment to psychological interventions for disorders characterized by social dysfunction. A small randomized, placebo-controlled trial of MDMA-assisted therapy (MDMA-AT) for social anxiety in autistic adults offered encouraging results, but more research is sorely needed to explore the potential for MDMA-AT in treating SAD. This review aims to stimulate future study by summarizing research on disruptions in neurological, perceptual, receptive, and expressive systems regulating social behavior in SAD and proposing how MDMA-AT may alter these systems across four domains. First, we review research highlighting the roles of social anhedonia and reduced social reward sensitivity in maintaining SAD, with specific attention to the reduction in positive affect in social situations, infrequent social approach behaviors, and related social skills deficits. We posit that MDMA-AT may enhance motivation to connect with others and alter perceptions of social reward for an extended period following administration, thereby potentiating extinction processes, and increasing the reinforcement value of social interactions. Second, we review evidence for the central role of heightened social evaluative threat perception in the development and maintenance of SAD and consider how MDMA-AT may enhance experiences of affiliation and safety when interacting with others. Third, we consider the influence of shame and the rigid application of shame regulation strategies as important intrapersonal processes maintaining SAD and propose the generation of self-transcendent emotions during MDMA sessions as a mechanism of shame reduction that may result in corrective emotional experiences and boost memory reconsolidation. Finally, we review research on the role of dysfunctional interpersonal behaviors in SAD that interfere with social functioning and, in particular, the development and maintenance of close and secure relationships. We discuss the hypothesized role of MDMA-AT in improving social skills to elicit positive interpersonal responses from others, creating a greater sense of belonging, acceptance, and social efficacy.
... "flow" states) may be likely to facilitate enjoyment and positive emotion (Csikszentmihalyi & LeFevre, 1989). Although individuals with high trait SA perceive social situations as inherently challenging, they are less likely to feel competent and successful at them, which may preclude them from experiencing positive emotions during social interactions (Blalock, Kashdan, & McKnight, 2018). Moreover, attending to potential social rewards may be particularly challenging in the aftermath of social rejection for high SA individuals, who tend to cope with challenging situations by avoiding or suppressing their emotions (Kashdan, 2007;Panayiotou, Karekla, & Panayiotou, 2014;Spokas, Luterek, & Heimberg, 2009). ...
Background and objectives
Prior studies have shown that people display signs of increased social approach motivation and affiliative behaviour in response to social exclusion. This response is considered an adaptive strategy that serves to repair damage to social networks and increase access to mood-enhancing social rewards. However, heightened trait social anxiety (SA) has been linked to decreased approach motivation and responsiveness to social rewards. In the current preliminary experimental study, we tested whether trait SA inhibits the expected increase in social approach following the pain of exclusion. We then tested whether diminished social approach is associated with reduced positive affect.
Participants played a game of Cyberball and were randomly assigned to receive significantly fewer passes (exclusion condition) or an equal number of passes (control condition) as other players. Subsequently, participants were given the opportunity to engage in an online social interaction activity with avatars they believed were other participants.
Analyses revealed that the exclusion condition led to greater social pain than the control condition. Across conditions, greater social pain was associated with higher levels of approach motivation in anticipation of the social interaction activity, but only for individuals with lower levels of trait SA. Finally, when controlling for levels of trait SA, social pain was associated with positive affect following the social interaction activity, but only for individuals with higher levels of approach motivation.
Participants consisted predominantly of female undergraduates, limiting generalizability of these data. As well, hypotheses were supported for the measure of approach motivation but not the measure of approach behaviour. Finally, this study was not powered to enable moderated mediation analyses, which would have provided the most direct test of the hypothesized model.
Heightened approach motivation in the face of social pain may facilitate increased positive affect. However, higher levels of trait SA dampen approach motivation. Future well-powered studies should use moderated mediation analyses to test the hypothesized model more parsimoniously.
... Particularly, in a group interaction, the game playing must balance the game challenge and the player's ability to overcome difficulties so that they can maintain their experience of flow (Csikszentmihalyi, 1997). However, if they feel themselves to be lacking in the ability to meet the challenge, they must eventually focus their attention on playing that game (Mogg, Philippot, & Bradley, 2004) which would generate competitive anxiety (Blalock, Kashdan, & McKnight, 2018). Consistent with the above studies, the present study indicated the negative relationship between competitive anxiety and flow as they played CRAG in a group competition. ...
This study adapted a Chinese remote‐associated game for team competition, and explored the correlates between self‐efficacy in Chinese word learning, competitive anxiety, collective self‐esteem in gameplay and flow experience. A total of 206 valid data was collected from fifth‐grade students. The results of the confirmatory factor analysis and structural equation modeling showed that while self‐efficacy in Chinese word learning was positively related to collective self‐esteem, it was negatively related to competitive anxiety. It was also found that collective self‐esteem in gameplay was positively related to flow experience, but that competitive anxiety was negatively related to flow experience. The findings of this study imply that group competition can enhance the participants’ flow experience and collective self‐esteem, and will decrease the level of gameplay anxiety in general.
This study examines relationships between emotion beliefs and emotion regulation strategy use among people with social anxiety disorder (SAD) and a psychologically healthy control group. Using experience-sampling methodology, we tested group differences in 2 types of emotion beliefs (emotion control values and emotion malleability beliefs) and whether emotion beliefs predicted trait and daily use of cognitive reappraisal and emotion suppression. People with SAD endorsed higher emotion control values and lower emotion malleability beliefs than did healthy controls. Across groups, emotion control values were positively associated with suppression (but unrelated to reappraisal), and emotion malleability beliefs were negatively associated with suppression and positively associated with reappraisal. We also addressed 2 exploratory questions related to measurement. First, we examined whether trait and state measures of emotion regulation strategies were related to emotion control values in different ways and found similar associations across measures. Second, we examined whether explicit and implicit measures of emotion control values were related to daily emotion regulation strategy use in different ways-and found that an implicit measure was unrelated to strategy use. Results are discussed in the context of growing research on metaemotions and the measurement of complex features of emotion regulation. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).
Emotion regulation strategies vary widely in use and effectiveness across psychological diagnostic categories. However, little data exists on (1) the use of these strategies in social anxiety disorder (SAD), and (2) how trait measures compare with actual daily use of emotion regulation strategies. We collected trait and daily assessments of emotion suppression, cognitive reappraisal, and positive and negative emotions from 40 adults with SAD and 39 matched healthy controls. Participants with SAD reported greater trait suppression and less cognitive reappraisal than healthy controls, and exhibited this same pattern of emotion regulation in daily life. Participants overall reported worse emotional experiences when suppressing positive (vs. negative) emotions, and better emotional experiences when reappraising to feel more positive (vs. less negative) emotions. However, SAD participants exhibited greater benefits (specifically increased positive emotions) from reappraising to feel less negative than healthy controls. These findings highlight the importance of positive emotion regulation strategies, particularly for individuals with SAD.
Mindfulness and flow are both beneficial states of mind, but are they difficult to experience simultaneously? After all, flow involves losing self-awareness within an activity, and mindfulness involves maintaining self-awareness throughout or even despite an activity. In three studies, we examine this potential antagonism, finding negative associations between mindfulness and flow as assessed in a variety of ways and contexts. These associations emerged within Global trait data and diary data concerning daily goal behavior (Study 1), experience-sampling data concerning behavior at the time of signaling (Study 2), and experimental data concerning the experience of playing the flow-conducive computer game, Tetris, after undergoing a mindfulness induction (Study 3). However, these associations only apply to the “absorption” aspect of flow, not the “sense of control” aspect.
Two separate studies investigated if the balance between challenges and skills is the best indicator of a subjective experience in general and of an optimal experience in particular. Study 1 followed a group of 64 first year sport- and outdoor students on a 3 day coastal trip and a 3 day ski trip (10 event measures) and their memory of their trip (4 remembered measures), which gave 698 single reports on subjective experiences (76%). Study 2 followed a group of 26 s year outdoor students on a 5 day glacier course (10 event measures), which gave 260 single reports (100%). Multiple regression analysis, all with challenges, skills and the interaction between challenges and skills as the independent variables gave no support to the challenge skill ratio on subjective experiences, explaining on average 9 and 14 % of a scope of positive and negative experiences in Study 1 and Study 2 respectively. In Study 1, the experience fluctuation model (EFM) explained 2 % of the variance in a variable measuring pleasure and 3 % of the variance in an interest variable. In study 2, the EFM explained 12.7 % of the variance in the pleasure variable and 10.8 % of the variance in the interest variable. Neither of our flow indicators peaked in the balance condition of challenges and skills. Rather, empirical support was given for an imbalance model of challenges and skills. The findings contest the widespread idea that flow is produced when challenges and skills are harmonized.
Prominent cognitive theories postulate that an attentional bias towards threatening information contributes to the etiology, maintenance, or exacerbation of fear and anxiety. In this review, we investigate to what extent these causal claims are supported by sound empirical evidence. Although differences in attentional bias are associated with differences in fear and anxiety, this association does not emerge consistently. Moreover, there is only limited evidence that individual differences in attentional bias are related to individual differences in fear or anxiety. In line with a causal relation, some studies show that attentional bias precedes fear or anxiety in time. However, other studies show that fear and anxiety can precede the onset of attentional bias, suggesting circular or reciprocal causality. Importantly, a recent line of experimental research shows that changes in attentional bias can lead to changes in anxiety. Yet changes in fear and anxiety also lead to changes in attentional bias, which confirms that the relation between attentional bias and fear and anxiety is unlikely to be unidirectional. Finally, a similar causal relation between interpretation bias and anxiety has been documented. In sum, there is evidence in favor of causality, yet a strict unidirectional cause-effect model is unlikely to hold. The relation between attentional bias and fear and anxiety is best described as a bidirectional, maintaining, or mutually reinforcing relation.
Research on affect and self-esteem in social anxiety disorder (SAD) has focused on trait or average levels, but we know little about the dynamic patterns of these experiences in the daily lives of people with SAD. We asked 40 adults with SAD and 39 matched healthy controls to provide end-of-day reports on their affect and self-esteem over 2 weeks. Compared to healthy adults, participants with SAD exhibited greater instability of negative affect and self-esteem, though the self-esteem effect was driven by mean-level differences. The SAD group also demonstrated a higher probability of acute changes in negative affect and self-esteem (i.e., from one assessment period to the next), as well as difficulty maintaining positive states and improving negative states (i.e., dysfunctional self-regulation). Our findings provide insights on the phenomenology of SAD, with particular attention to the temporal dependency, magnitude of change, and directional patterns of psychological experiences in everyday life.
Despite the increased attention that researchers have paid to social anxiety disorder (SAD), compared with other anxiety and mood disorders, relatively little is known about the emotional and social factors that distinguish individuals who meet diagnostic criteria from those who do not. In this study, participants with and without a diagnosis of SAD (generalized subtype) described their daily face-to-face social interactions for 2 weeks using handheld computers. We hypothesized that, compared with healthy controls, individuals diagnosed with SAD would experience fewer positive emotions, rely more on experiential avoidance (of anxiety), and have greater self-control depletion (feeling mentally and physically exhausted after socializing), after accounting for social anxiety, negative emotions, and feelings of belonging during social interactions. We found that compared with healthy controls, individuals with SAD experienced weaker positive emotions and greater experiential avoidance, but there were no differences in self-control depletion between groups. Moreover, the differences we found could not be attributed to comorbid anxiety or depressive disorders. Our results suggest that negative emotions alone do not fully distinguish normal from pathological social anxiety, and that assessing social anxiety disorder should include impairments in positive emotional experiences and dysfunctional emotion regulation (in the form of experiential avoidance) in social situations. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved).
Research on social anxiety and social anxiety disorder has proliferated over the years since the explication of the disorder through cognitive-behavioral models. This review highlights a recently updated model from our group and details recent research stemming from the (a) information processing perspective, including attention bias, interpretation bias, implicit associations, imagery and visual memories, and (b) emotion regulation perspective, including positive emotionality and anger. In addition, we review recent studies exploring the roles of self-focused attention, safety behaviors, and post-event processing in the maintenance of social anxiety. Within each area, we detail the ways in which these topics have implications for the treatment of social anxiety and for future research. Finally, we conclude with a discussion of how several of the areas reviewed contribute to our model of social anxiety disorder.
Flow is a subjective experience of high but effortless attention, enjoyment, and low self-awareness that can occur during the active performance of challenging tasks. The dispositional proneness to experience flow is associated with personality traits that are known to be influenced by dopaminergic neural systems. Here, for the first time, we investigated relations between flow proneness and dopaminergic function. Specifically, we tested the hypothesis that the availability of dopamine D2-receptors in the striatum is positively associated with flow proneness. Striatal D2-receptor availability was measured in a sample of 25 healthy adults using Positron Emission Tomography and [(11)C]raclopride. Flow proneness was measured using the Swedish Flow Proneness Questionnaire. As hypothesized, there was a significant correlation (r=.41) between striatal D2-receptor availability and flow proneness. An exploratory analysis of striatal subregions showed that the relation was mainly driven by the dorsal striatum, with a significantly higher correlation in the putamen than in the ventral striatum. The findings constitute the first demonstration of an association between flow proneness and dopaminergic function. We suggest that the proneness to experience flow is related to personality dimensions that are under dopaminergic control and characterized by low impulsiveness, stable emotion, and positive affect.
We present a conceptualization of student engagement based on the culmination of concentration, interest, and enjoyment (i.e., flow). Using a longitudinal sample of 526 high school students across the U.S., we investigated how adolescents spent their time in high school and the conditions under which they reported being engaged. Participants experienced increased engagement when the perceived challenge of the task and their own skills were high and in balance, the instruction was relevant, and the learning environment was under their control. Participants were also more engaged in individual and group work versus listening to lectures, watching videos, or taking exams. Suggestions to increase engagement, such as focusing on learning activities that support students' autonomy and provide an appropriate level of challenge for students' skills, conclude the article. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
The concept of flow is briefly reviewed and several theoretical and methodological problems related to flow research are discussed.
In three studies, we attempted to avoid these problems by measuring the experience of flow in its components, rather than
operationally defining flow in terms of challenge and skill. With this measure, we tested the assumption that experience of
flow substantially depends on the balance of challenge and skill. This assumption could only be partially supported, and,
as expected, this relationship was moderated by the (perceived) importance of the activity and by the achievement motive.
Furthermore, flow predicted performance in two of the three studies.
The intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) is a fundamental parameter of interest in cluster randomized trials as it can greatly affect statistical power. We compare common methods of estimating the ICC in cluster randomized trials with binary outcomes, with a specific focus on their application to community-based cancer prevention trials with primary outcome of self-reported cancer screening. Using three real data sets from cancer screening intervention trials with different numbers and types of clusters and cluster sizes, we obtained point estimates and 95% confidence intervals for the ICC using five methods: the analysis of variance estimator, the Fleiss-Cuzick estimator, the Pearson estimator, an estimator based on generalized estimating equations and an estimator from a random intercept logistic regression model. We compared estimates of the ICC for the overall sample and by study condition. Our results show that ICC estimates from different methods can be quite different, although confidence intervals generally overlap. The ICC varied substantially by study condition in two studies, suggesting that the common practice of assuming a common ICC across all clusters in the trial is questionable. A simulation study confirmed pitfalls of erroneously assuming a common ICC. Investigators should consider using sample size and analysis methods that allow the ICC to vary by study condition.
Abstract Flow is an optimal state of experience that has been studied in various situations, including online environments. In such environments, it has been found to be positively related to exploratory behaviour, revisit and purchase intention, and positive attitude towards web sites. Based on flow theory, this study tests the complete structure of the flow model as it was originally formulated in an online shopping context. The role of the preconditions of flow is elaborated and the effect of web site complexity, an important interface design variable, on flow is examined. Results show that web site complexity affects flow through the mediating effects of the three preconditions of flow. Theoretical and practical implications of this finding are discussed.
Accumulating data suggest that behavioral activation interventions may be an effective approach to treating clinical depression. Given the high comorbidity and construct overlap between anxiety and mood disorders, a conceptually and methodologically integrated intervention that addresses symptoms of both conditions is indicated.As a means to this end, two questions are addressed. First, is the construct overlap and functional similarities of anxiety and mood disorders substantial enough to warrant an integrated intervention? Second, are behavioral activation treatments conceptually compatible with traditional behavioral interventions for anxiety disorders? Toaddress these questions, behavioral activation interventions and their underlying principles briefly are described,followed by a functional analytic framework in which depressive and anxiety based symptom patterns are viewed as conceptually parallel in the context of a general negative affective syndrome. Finally, practical applications of behavioral activation for anxiety are discussed, and a case illustration is presented to highlight how behavioralactivation may be used to treat a patient with coexistent anxiety and depressive pathology.
Studies in clinical and community samples have documented that social anxiety disorder is common, disabling, and costly. It reduces educational attainment and job success, and thus it may undermine economic self-sufficiency. The authors examined whether social anxiety disorder was an obstacle to successful employment in a longitudinal epidemiological study of women receiving welfare in an urban Michigan county. The hypothesis that social anxiety disorder would predict reduced work attainment was examined.
Psychiatric diagnoses were established with the Composite International Diagnostic Interview-Short Form. The authors conducted a linear fixed-effects regression analysis for survey data with 609 respondents who completed at least the third wave of the Women's Employment Study in order to explore obstacles to employment among mothers on welfare.
Analyses demonstrated that compared with respondents without social anxiety disorder, those with this disorder worked fewer months. The impact of social anxiety disorder was independent of and more striking than the effects of depression.
By undermining efforts to obtain or maintain employment, social anxiety disorder poses a significant, unrecognized impediment to efforts to reduce welfare reliance and to help recipients achieve economic self-sufficiency. Because recipients may lose benefits if they fail to enter the workforce rapidly and if they exceed time limits for support, those with social anxiety disorder are at risk of extreme economic hardship. Improved access to effective treatments in this population could have significant public health and economic benefits.
Followed 78 adult workers for 1 week with the experience sampling method. (This method randomly samples self-reports throughout the day.) The main question was whether the quality of experience was more influenced by whether a person was at work or at leisure or more influenced by whether a person was in flow (i.e., in a condition of high challenges and skills). Results showed that all the variables measuring the quality of experience, except for relaxation and motivation, are more affected by flow than by whether the respondent is working or in leisure. Moreover, the great majority of flow experiences are reported when working, not when in leisure. Regardless of the quality of experience, however, respondents are more motivated in leisure than in work. But individuals more motivated in flow than in apathy reported more positive experiences in work. Results suggest implications for improving the quality of everyday life.
Researchers and clinicians assume a strong, positive correlation between anxiety symptoms and functional impairment. That assumption may be well-justified since diagnostic criteria typically include functional impairment. Still, the relationship remains largely unavailable in any systematic review. Our aim with this paper was to provide empirical evidence for this assumed relationship and to document the observed correlations between anxiety symptom measures and functional impairment measures. Correlations existed for symptoms of six anxiety disorders (Panic Disorder, Agoraphobia, Social Anxiety Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) across four functional domains (global, social, occupational, and physical). Overall, the mean of 497 correlations across all disorders and functional domains was modest (r=.34); since the variability between disorders and functional domains tended to be rather large, we explored these correlations further. We presented these results and the potential explanations for unexpected findings along with the clinical and research implications.
The sense of agency is defined as the experience of oneself as the agent of one's own action (, p. 523). It means being the one causing a specific movement or generating a certain thought in the stream of consciousness . This ability implies distinguishing actions that are self-generated from those generated by others , thus contributing to the subjective phenomenon of self-consciousness [2-4]. Moreover, being the initiator of an action entails representation of oneself as causally responsible for the action and for its direct effects .
This paper investigates a prediction from flow theory according to which subjective feelings of concentration depend on the balance between perceived challenges posed by a task and one's perceived skills in mastering the task. The goal is to compare three different formalizations of balance (crossproduct, absolute difference, and quadratic effects of challenges and skills following a rotation of the predictor axes) with respect to how well each model predicts everyday life selfreports of feelings of concentration, which were obtained with the Experience Sampling Method from 208 talented high school students. Multilevel modeling with first-order autocorrelation structure is used throughout the model comparison. All models fitted reasonably well, accounting for nearly half of the variance. With reference to simple goodness-of-fit criteria, we conclude that both the rotated and the absolute difference models are to be preferred. Lastly, we discuss and compare the implications of the models for teaching, and outline extensions toward dynamic modeling and external modeling, by relating the subject specific effects of challenges and skills and of their balance with non-experiential variables such as personality traits and achievement measures.
The goal of the present research was to test the hypothesis that cognitive biases for negative and threatening social information mediate the effects of behavioral inhibition system (BIS) and behavioral approach system (BAS) sensitivity on social anxiety. Participants completed self-report measures of BIS and BAS and then underwent a social-threat induction procedure in which they were told they would have to perform a speech. A battery of cognitive bias measures was then administered, followed by a battery of state anxiety measures. Audience members also rated participants' anxiety during the speech. Structural equation modeling was used to test the hypothesized model. As predicted, the fully-mediated model showed the best fit to the data, and higher BIS and lower BAS were found to have significant indirect effects on social anxiety via cognitive bias.
A disparity is often observed between the data of immediate experience and the data of recollection. Although this is frequently seen to reflect possible distortion in the latter process, it may also reflect important developmental gains in the interpretations of experience. In the present study, 27 middle-class 15–18 yr olds provided randomly signaled reports on their affective states for 2 1-wk intervals, situated 2 yrs apart. Following the 2nd data collection, they also were asked to rate changes in their affective states over this time period and to explain why these changes had occurred. Findings show little change in the quality of immediate experience over the 2 yrs, yet upon recollection, substantial positive changes were perceived to have occurred. Analyses revealed that this perception of change took the form of a felt increase in Ss' capacity for interpreting and organizing experience within various domains of their daily lives. (18 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Flow is a state of peak enjoyment, energetic focus, and creative concentration experienced by people engaged in adult play, which has become the basis of a highly creative approach to living. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Individuals, as living open systems, actively interact with their environment. Throughout their life, they preferentially replicate a subset of the available opportunities for action. This process has been labeled psychological selection, and it is based on the quality of experience reported in daily situations. Empirical evidence has shown that individuals preferentially select, reproduce, and cultivate the activities associated with optimal experience, a distinctively positive and complex state of consciousness characterized by the perception of high challenges balanced with adequate skills, concentration and engagement, clear goals and rules, and control of the situation. From this perspective, optimal experience fosters the development of individual competencies, shaping the pattern of psychological selection. Empirical evidence was also gathered for apathy, the negative pole of experience fluctuation, characterized by disengagement, disruption of attention, negative affect, and low perceived challenges. This paper will provide findings concerning the psychological features of optimal experience and apathy across different samples and activities. A stable cognitive core was detected for both states, around which affective and motivational variables fluctuate according to the structure of the associated activities. The regulating function of short-term desirability and perceived long-term goals on the quality of experience was also highlighted. Results suggested that the association of optimal experiences and skill cultivation with structured and long-term meaningful activities could be used as an intervention tool for the promotion of individual development and social integration in youth and adults. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
One of the core constructs of the positive psychology movement is that of ‘flow’, or optimal experience. The current study investigated the relationship between ‘flow’, the core job dimensions, and subjective well-being (SWB), as well as distinguishing between the state and trait components of flow. Experience sampling methodology (ESM) was used to track 40 architectural students over a 15 week semester while they engaged in studio work. Hierarchical linear modelling (HLM) indicated that 74% of the variance in flow was attributable to situational characteristics compared to dispositional factors. Results also indicated that academic work that was high in skill variety and autonomy was associated with flow. Flow was found to be correlated with positive mood. Cross-lagged regression analysis showed that momentary flow was predictive of momentary mood and not vice versa. The strengths and limitations of using ESM to study subjective work experiences and well-being are discussed, as well as the implications of the study of flow or optimal experience for industrial/organizational psychology.
Media enjoyment is theorized by synthesizing empirical literature from uses and gratifications with Csikszentmihalyi's flow theory. This article argues that enjoyment of media results from a flow experience realized when media message content balances with individual ability to interpret that message. Further, it theorizes that media experience, along with individual differences in cognitive abilities, facilitates or prevents flow state in media users. Therefore, it is a balance between individual differences in cognitive abilities and media message challenges that explains enjoyment of media use. The authors offer the case of video game usage as an exemplar, and examples of cognitive tasks are provided and linked to game genre content.
The purpose of this study was to examine whether engaging in flow promoting activities would lead to increased positive affect
(PA). Participants in this study consisted of 57 undergraduate university students who participated in order to receive extra
credit in a psychology class. The randomly assigned high flow induction group performed a flow activity for 1 h, and filled
out the PANAS and Flow State Scale 2 before and after the activity. The low flow induction group performed a low flow activity
for the same amount of time and filled out both questionnaires as well. Findings indicated that participants in the high flow
condition reported higher increases in PA and flow than those in the low flow condition, and that change in flow mediated
the relationship between group and change in PA.
This study attempted to show how autotelic people who live in a non-Western culture feel, behave, and think in their daily
lives. Using a sample of 315 Japanese college students, a series of correlation analyses were conducted between the frequency
of flow experience as an indicator of autotelic personality and a broad range of well-being measures. A distribution analysis
revealed that on average Japanese college students experienced flow more than a “few times a year,” but less than “once a
month.” In the examination of relations between flow and well-being measures, autotelic Japanese college students, or those
who experienced flow more often in their daily lives, were more likely to show higher self-esteem and lower anxiety, use active
coping strategies more often and use passive coping strategies less often, as compared to their less autotelic counterparts.
They were more likely to report active commitments to college life, search for future career, and daily activities in general.
They also reported more Jujitsu-kan, a Japanese sense of fulfillment, and greater satisfaction with their lives. Implications
of these findings are discussed in terms of what experiencing flow means and what effects flow potentially has for college
students in a non-Western culture.
KeywordsFlow experience-Autotelic personality-Culture-Well-being-Japanese college students
Anxiety-related responding and skill deficits have historically been associated with performance-based anxiety disorders such as social phobia. Prominent cognitive-behavioral models of social phobia have typically deemphasized skill deficits and focused more on the effects of negative cognition on social performance. Considering that empirical accounts of the relation between social skill and social performance are generally modest, the impact of skill deficits on the development and maintenance of performance inadequacies may be relatively neglected in theoretical paradigms in this area. A second problem that has plagued social skill research is the misuse of the term skill deficit as a synonym for performance deficit. In response to these issues, we utilize the multilevel framework of psychological behaviorism to offer a more parsimonious account of the relation between anxiety and skill in social phobia. We argue that this integrated model assimilates contemporary accounts of social phobia and uniquely expands upon them by delineating the unique and cumulative effects of skill and anxiety on social performance. We further suggest that this model resolves existing theoretical incompatibilities, facilitates improved patient-treatment matching, and shows promise as a guiding framework for empirical research.
Past research has suggested that Csikszentmihalyi's flow theory describes a state that should be supportive of a student's learning. This paper reports on research that uses the constructs of flow to explore learning in an online environment. An experiment was carried out in which students worked through a learning sequence in the physics domain that had varying degrees of interactivity. Their interactions and flow states were monitored throughout the learning task. The experimental data suggest that flow can be more usefully regarded as a process rather than just an overall state. This process is represented by flow-paths that plot each student's progress through challenge-skill space. Some flow patterns are identified that relate to the learning outcomes of the students. While there is some conflict between this process representation and outcome measures for flow, this flow-path portrayal has provided fresh insights into students' interactions in online learning environments.
The aim of the current study was to examine the role of satisfaction-with-event as a mediator in the relations between flow and life satisfaction based on the bottom-up theory (Andrews and Withey in Social indicators of well-being: Americans' perceptions of life quality. Plenum, New York, 1976; Lee et al. in J Macromarketing 22(2): 158-169, 2002). Four hundred and thirty-four participants with a mean age of 35.60 (SD = 11.76) were recruited from the audience of a "Cirque du Soleil" acrobatics show, performed in Taiwan in 2009. Participants completed the flow scale (Csikszentmihalyi in Flow: the psychology of optimal experience. Harper & Row, New York, 1990), a satisfaction-with-event scale (Lin and Hsu in Mark Rev 3(4): 497-528, 2008), and a satisfaction-with-life scale (Diener et al. in J Pers Assess 49:71-75, 1985) immediately after viewing the show. Structural equation modeling was conducted to examine our hypothesis that satisfaction-with-event levels would fully mediate the relationship between flow and overall life satisfaction. Results supported our prediction and are discussed in terms of bottom-up theory. Implications of the study are also provided for the leisure managers.
We developed a smartphone technology to sample people’s ongoing thoughts, feelings, and actions and found (i) that people
are thinking about what is not happening almost as often as they are thinking about what is and (ii) found that doing so typically
makes them unhappy.
Two experiments were conducted to examine the link between safety behaviors and social judgments in social anxiety disorder (SAD). Safety behaviors were manipulated in the context of a controlled laboratory-based social interaction, and subsequent effects of the manipulation on the social judgments of socially anxious participants (N = 50, Study 1) and individuals meeting diagnostic criteria for generalized SAD (N = 80, Study 2) were examined. Participants were randomly assigned to either a safety behavior reduction plus exposure condition (SB + EXP) or a graduated exposure (EXP) control condition, and then took part in a conversation with a trained experimental confederate. Results revealed across both studies that participants in the SB + EXP group were less negative and more accurate in judgments of their performance following safety behavior reduction relative to EXP participants. Study 2 also demonstrated that participants in the SB + EXP group displayed lower judgments about the likelihood of negative outcomes in a subsequent social event compared to controls. Moreover, reduction in safety behaviors mediated change in participant self-judgments and future social predictions. The current findings are consistent with cognitive theories of anxiety, and support the causal role of safety behaviors in the persistence of negative social judgments in SAD.
A few recent studies have found evidence showing that social anxiety is associated with diminished positive affect and elevated anger. However, prior work has relied on trait self-report measures of global positive mood or anger. In this preliminary study, we examined how trait social anxiety relates to moment-to-moment positive and angry emotional states as people navigate through their natural environment in a given day. Of additional interest was whether any associations were limited to social situations or were evident more broadly in non-social situations as well. For 14 days, 38 non-clinical community adults carried electronic diaries to assess their experience of positive emotions, anger, and their current social context and activity. Participants were randomly prompted up to four times per day, leading to 1702 observations. Results showed that social anxiety was associated with less time spent feeling happy and relaxed and more time spent feeling angry throughout the day. In general, people felt happier when they were with other people compared to being alone. Interestingly, people with relatively higher levels of social anxiety reported fewer and less intense positive emotions and greater anger episodes across social and non-social situations.
The authors examined intensely engaging (i.e., flow) experiences in the context of college coursework to gain a better understanding of their antecedents and outcomes. College students (N=137) completed a Web-based survey that assessed (a) flow experiences; (b) academic work characteristics including role clarity, professor support for autonomy, and feedback; and (c) psychological and physical health. The authors found that flow completely mediated the relation between academic work characteristics and psychological well-being. They also found that flow had an indirect effect through psychological well-being on physical health. These findings suggest restructuring academic work to be clear and autonomous and giving ample feedback opportunities to facilitate intense student engagement and mental and physical wellness.
32 generalized social phobic outpatients and 32 matched nonclinical control subjects participated in a dyadic 'getting acquainted' interaction with an experimental assistant who engaged in either positive or negative social behavior. The accuracy of social phobics' and control subjects' perceptions of themselves and their partners were compared in the two conditions. Relative to observers' ratings, the social phobics displayed a negative bias in their appraisals of some, but not all, aspects of their social performance. These results suggested that social phobics may have particular difficulty gauging the nonverbal aspects of their social behavior. The phobics discounted their social competence to the same extent in the positive interaction, where their behavior was more skillful, as in the negative interaction. The social phobics were also less accurate than nonclinical controls in their appraisals of their partners, however, these phobic subjects displayed a positive bias when appraising their partner's performance.
This study examined the nature of impairment of functioning in persons with social phobia and assessed the validity of two new rating scales for describing impairment in social phobia.
In 32 patients with social phobia and 14 normal control subjects, impairment was assessed using the Disability Profile and the Liebowitz Self-Rated Disability Scale, new instruments designed to provide clinician- and patient-rated descriptive measures of current and lifetime functional impairment related to emotional problems. Validity of the new scales was assessed by measuring internal consistency, comparing scores for patients and controls, and comparing scores with those on standard measures of disability, social phobia symptoms, and social support.
More than half of all social phobic patients reported at least moderate impairment at some time in their lives, due to social anxiety and avoidance, in areas of education, employment, family relationships, marriage/romantic relationships, friendships/social network, and other interests. Social phobic patients were rated more impaired than normal controls on nearly all items on both measures. Both scales were internally consistent, with Cronbach's alpha coefficients for lifetime and current disability subscales in the range of .87 to .92. Significant positive correlations of scores on the new scales with scores on coadministered standard scales of social phobia symptoms and disability demonstrated concurrent validity. Disability was not significantly correlated with measures of social support.
Social phobia is associated with impairment in most areas of functioning, and the new scales appear useful in assessing functional impairment related to social phobia.
This article investigates the effects that perceived challenges and skills in activities have on the quality of everyday life experience. Based on flow theory it was predicted that quality of daily experience would depend on the challenge experienced and skill required in specific situations, as well as on the balance between challenge and skill. The Experience Sampling Method (ESM) was used on a sample of 208 talented adolescents to measure daily variations in four dimensions of experience (concentration, wish to do the activity, involvement, and happiness) in four contexts (in school, with relatives, with friends, and in solitude). The four dimensions of experience were regressed on the predictors challenges, skills, and their absolute difference expressing the balance/imbalance of challenges and skills. Hierarchical linear modeling, explained in detail herein, was conducted on a 1-week sample of experiences. Findings confirm the prediction of flow theory that the balance of challenges and skills has a positive and independent effect on the quality of experience. Yet some differences of parameter estimates were found between dimensions of experience and between social contexts. These heterogeneities call for a further improvement of the flow model.
Patients with generalized social phobia (N = 32; 16 men, 16 women) and nonclinical control participants (N = 32; 16 men, 16 women) took part in a social interaction that was manipulated to be successful or unsuccessful. Participants rated their ability, perceptions of others' standards, social goals, and emotional responses before and after the interactions. As predicted, the successful social interaction produced a somewhat negative response in patients with social phobia. Social success led to self-protective social goals, negative emotional states and perceptions that others would expect more in future interactions. These results indicate that positive social events may not be processed in a way that leads to a revision of negative self- and social judgments in patients with social phobia.
The current paper presents a model of the experience of anxiety in social/evaluative situations in people with social phobia. The model describes the manner in which people with social phobia perceive and process information related to potential evaluation and the way in which these processes differ between people high and low in social anxiety. It is argued that distortions and biases in the processing of social/evaluative information lead to heightened anxiety in social situations and, in turn, help to maintain social phobia. Potential etiological factors as well as treatment implications are also discussed.
Little is known about lifetime prevalence or age of onset of DSM-IV disorders.
To estimate lifetime prevalence and age-of-onset distributions of DSM-IV disorders in the recently completed National Comorbidity Survey Replication.
Nationally representative face-to-face household survey conducted between February 2001 and April 2003 using the fully structured World Health Organization World Mental Health Survey version of the Composite International Diagnostic Interview.
Nine thousand two hundred eighty-two English-speaking respondents aged 18 years and older.
Lifetime DSM-IV anxiety, mood, impulse-control, and substance use disorders.
Lifetime prevalence estimates are as follows: anxiety disorders, 28.8%; mood disorders, 20.8%; impulse-control disorders, 24.8%; substance use disorders, 14.6%; any disorder, 46.4%. Median age of onset is much earlier for anxiety (11 years) and impulse-control (11 years) disorders than for substance use (20 years) and mood (30 years) disorders. Half of all lifetime cases start by age 14 years and three fourths by age 24 years. Later onsets are mostly of comorbid conditions, with estimated lifetime risk of any disorder at age 75 years (50.8%) only slightly higher than observed lifetime prevalence (46.4%). Lifetime prevalence estimates are higher in recent cohorts than in earlier cohorts and have fairly stable intercohort differences across the life course that vary in substantively plausible ways among sociodemographic subgroups.
About half of Americans will meet the criteria for a DSM-IV disorder sometime in their life, with first onset usually in childhood or adolescence. Interventions aimed at prevention or early treatment need to focus on youth.
The relation between social anxiety and hedonic activity remains poorly understood. From a self-regulatory perspective, we hypothesized that socially anxious individuals experience diminished positive experiences and events on days when they are unable to manage socially anxious feelings adequately. In this 21-day experience-sampling study, we constructed daily measures of social anxiety and emotion regulation. Greater dispositional social anxiety was associated with less positive affect and fewer positive events in everyday life. Among individuals defined as socially anxious from their scores on a global self-report measure of social anxiety, the number of positive events was lowest on days when they both were more socially anxious and tended to suppress emotions and highest on days when they were less socially anxious and more accepting of emotional experiences. Irrespective of dispositional social anxiety, participants reported the most intense positive emotions on the days when they were both least socially anxious and most accepting of emotional experiences. Possible clinical implications are discussed.