Optimal Experience in Work and Leisure

J Pers Soc Psychol. 1989 May;56(5):815-22. doi: 10.1037//0022-3514.56.5.815.

Abstract

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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affect
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Job Satisfaction*
  • Leisure Activities*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation*
  • Personal Satisfaction