Experiencing flow in different types of serious leisure in later life

Chungsup Lee, Laura L. Payne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As people are living longer, there is an emphasis on adding life to years instead of years to life. Flow is regarded as an optimal experience, which contributes to the quality of life. Such flow experiences are likely to occur in serious leisure settings. Thus, this study explored the relationship between serious leisure types and a flow experience (frequency and quality) among older adults. Respondents were recruited from six different community programmes and a total of 113 surveys were used in the study. Serious leisure activities were classified into five types (i.e. “physically & socially centred stimulating” activity, “cognitively centred stimulating” activity, “diversely low stimulating” activity, “diversely high stimulating” activity, and “cognitively & socially centred stimulating” activity) based on the physical, cognitive, and social stimulation. The findings indicated that people who engage in serious leisure activities that emphasize the cognitive stimulation were significantly more likely to experience higher frequencies of flow. On the other hand, there was no significant difference among the different types of serious leisure in terms of quality of flow. This might indicate that what matters the most to experiencing flow is not what we do, but how we do it.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)163-178
Number of pages16
JournalWorld Leisure Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2 2016


  • Older adults
  • cognitive stimulation
  • frequency of flow and quality of flow
  • serious leisure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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