Prior research suggests that achievement motivation and flow correlate positively with subjective wellbeing (Csikszentmihalyi et al., 2014; Seligman, 2011). However, the underlying association between these constructs remains unknown in educational research. This contribution helps to clarify the relationship as it hypothesizes that flow mediates the positive effect of achievement motivation on subjective wellbeing.
The data was collected in a randomized longitudinal study featuring a control group design. It was conducted from students of different grades (N = 742, 46.2% female) in seven German schools measuring their achievement motivation, flow and wellbeing.
Multiple regression and mediation analyses with SPSS confirmed direct effects of individual achievement motivation on subjective wellbeing in primary and secondary school. The data analysis shows no effects in grade 11. However, the mediation effect of flow could be verified in primary and secondary stages as well as in the pooled year stages 2&3, 4&5, 7&9.
The results confirm flow as a key mediator between achievement motivation and student wellbeing. Thus, they highlight the relevance of flow-experiences in educational contexts. Based on these findings, implications for school practice will be discussed.