Applied Research in Quality of Life

, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 575–590 | Cite as

Rediscovering the Positive Psychology of Sport Participation: Happiness in a Ski Resort Context

  • Hyun-Woo Lee
  • Sunyun Shin
  • Kyle S. Bunds
  • Minjung Kim
  • Kwang Min ChoEmail author


Interrelated functions of the three orientations to happiness were examined by a cross-sectional survey, in the context of a ski resort experience. Accordingly, a conceptual framework of pleasure, flow, and involvement influencing satisfaction was established. Utilizing structural equation modeling, the conceptual framework was tested by analyzing data collected from 279 participants who enjoyed skiing and/or snowboarding. Results from bootstrap test indicated that direct and total effects from flow had the highest predictive power on satisfaction. In contrast, pleasure showed higher explanatory power on subjective experiences of flow and meaning, and influenced satisfaction only by indirect effects through those elements. Together, these findings support the research model synthesizing the behavioral constructs of sport participation with subjective well-being perspectives. Moreover, the expanded model in a sporting context further evidences the functional roles of the orientations to happiness by results consistent with extant literature of positive psychology. Roles of embodiments of orientations to happiness in an action-based exercise and its implications are further discussed.


Sport participation Positive psychology Pleasure Flow Involvement Satisfaction 


  1. Allender, S., Cowburn, G., & Foster, C. (2006). Understanding participation in sport and physical activity among children and adults: a review of qualitative studies. Health Education Research, 21(6), 826–835.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Anderson, J. C., & Gerbing, D. W. (1988). Structural equation modeling in practice: a review and recommended two-step approach. Psychological Bulletin, 103(3), 411–423.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Babbie, E. (2007). The practice of social research (11th ed.). Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth.Google Scholar
  4. Bagozzi, R. P., & Yi, Y. (1988). On the evaluation of structural equation models. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 16(1), 74–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Baron, R. M., & Kenny, D. A. (1986). The moderator–mediator variable distinction in social psychological research: conceptual, strategic, and statistical considerations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51(6), 1173–1182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bentler, P. M. (1990). Comparative fit indexes in structural models. Psychological Bulletin, 107(2), 238–246.Google Scholar
  7. Bollen, K. A., & Stine, R. A. (1992). Bootstrapping goodness-of-fit measures in structural equation models. Sociological Methods & Research, 21(2), 205–229.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Brown, S., & Vaughn, C. (2009). Play: How it shapes the brain, opens the imagination, and invigorates the soul. New York: Avery.Google Scholar
  9. Compton, W. C., & Hoffman, E. (2013). Positive psychology: The science of happiness and flourishing. Belmont: Wadsworth.Google Scholar
  10. Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1990). Flow: The psychology of optimal experience. New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  11. Csikszentmihalyi, M., & Csikszentmihalyi, I. (1975). Beyond boredom and anxiety: The experience of play in work and games. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  12. Dahlsgaard, K., Peterson, C., & Seligman, M. E. P. (2005). Shared virtue: the convergence of valued human strengths across culture and history. Review of General Psychology, 9(3), 203–213.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Decloe, M. D., Kaczynski, A. T., & Havitz, M. E. (2009). Social participation, flow and situational involvement in recreational physical activity. Journal of Leisure Research, 41(1), 73–90.Google Scholar
  14. Diener, E. (2006). Guidelines for national indicators of subjective well-being and ill-being. Applied Research in Quality of Life, 1, 151–157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Finney, S. J., & DiStefano, C. (2006). Non-normal and categorical data in structural equation modeling. In G. R. Hancock & R. O. Mueller (Eds.), Structural equation modeling: A second course (pp. 269–314). Greenwich: Information Age Publishing.Google Scholar
  16. Fornell, C., & Larcker, D. F. (1981). Evaluating structural equation models with unobservable variables and measurement error. Journal of Marketing Research, 18(1), 39–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Fox, K. R., Boutcher, S. H., Faulkner, G. E., & Biddle, S. J. H. (2000). The case for exercise in the promotion of mental health and psychological well-being. In S. J. H. Biddle, K. R. Fox, & S. H. Boutcher (Eds.), Physical activity and psychological well-being (pp. 1–9). London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  18. Fredrickson, B. L. (2001). The role of positive emotions in positive psychology: the broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions. American Psychologist, 56(3), 218–226.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Fredrickson, B. L. (2003). The value of positive emotions: the emerging science of positive psychology is coming to understand why it’s good to feel good. American Scientist, 91(4), 330–335.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Fredrickson, B. L., & Losada, M. F. (2005). Positive affect and the complex dynamics of human flourishing. American Psychologist, 60(7), 678–686.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Gagne, M. (2003). Autonomy support and need satisfaction in the motivation and well-being of gymnasts. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 15(4), 372–390.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Havitz, M. E., & Mannell, R. C. (2005). Enduring involvement, situational involvement, and flow in leisure and non-leisure activities. Journal of Leisure Research, 37(2), 152–177.Google Scholar
  23. Hu, L., & Bentler, P. M. (1999). Cutoff criteria for fit indexes in covariance structure analysis: conventional criteria versus new alternatives. Structural Equation Modeling: A Multidisciplinary Journal, 6(1), 1–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Huang, H., & Humphreys, B. R. (2012). Sports participation and happiness: evidence from US microdata. Journal of Economic Psychology, 33(4), 776–793.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Jackson, S. A., & Hanin, Y. L. (2000). Joy, fun, and flow state in sport. In Y. L. Hanin (Ed.), Emotions in sport (pp. 135–155). Champaign: Human Kinetics.Google Scholar
  26. Jackson, S. A., Kimiecik, J. C., Ford, S. K., & Marsh, H. W. (1998). Psychological correlates of flow in sport./correlations psychologiques de la serenite en sport. Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 20(4), 358–378.Google Scholar
  27. Jayawickreme, E., Forgeard, M. J. C., & Seligman, M. E. P. (2012). The engine of well-being. Review of General Psychology, 16(4), 327–342.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kahneman, D., Diener, E., & Schwarz, N. (2003). Well-being: The foundations of hedonic psychology. New York: Russell Sage.Google Scholar
  29. Keyes, C. L. M., Shmotkin, D., & Ryff, C. D. (2002). Optimizing well-being: the empirical encounter of two traditions. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 82, 1007–1022.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Kimiecik, J. C., & Harris, A. T. (1996). What is enjoyment? A conceptual/definitional analysis with implications for sport and exercise psychology. Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 18(3), 247–263.Google Scholar
  31. Kline, R. B. (2011). Principles and practice of structural equation modeling. New York: The Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  32. Leckey, P. J., & Mannell, R. C. (2000). Confidence in personality impressions of others in leisure and work contexts: the role of implicit theories of leisure as expressive behavior. Leisure/Loisir, 24, 279–298.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Linley, P. A., & Joseph, S. (2004a). Applied positive psychology: A new perspective for professional practice. In P. A. Linley & S. Joseph (Eds.), Positive psychology in practice (pp. 3–12). Hoboken: Wiley.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Linley, P. A., & Joseph, S. (2004b). Toward a theoretical foundation for positive psychology in practice. In P. A. Linley & S. Joseph (Eds.), Positive psychology in practice (pp. 713–731). Hoboken: Wiley.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Madrigal, R. (2006). Measuring the multidimensional nature of sporting event performance consumption. Journal of Leisure Research, 38(3), 267–292.Google Scholar
  36. Mannell, R. C., & Kleiber, D. A. (1997). A social psychology of leisure. State College: Venture Publishing, Inc.Google Scholar
  37. Markland, D., & Hardy, L. (1993). The exercise motivations inventory: preliminary development and validity of a measure of individuals’ reasons for participation in regular physical exercise. Personality and Individual Differences, 15(3), 289–296.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. McQuarrie, E. F., & Munson, J. M. (1987). The Zaichkowsky personal involvement inventory: modification and extension. Advances in Consumer Research, 14(1), 36–40.Google Scholar
  39. Mitchell, A. A. (1979). Involvement: a potentially important mediator of consumer behavior. Advances in Consumer Research, 6, 191–196.Google Scholar
  40. Muthén, L. K., & Muthén, B. O. (2010). Mplus (version 6.0). [Computer software].Google Scholar
  41. Mutrie, N., & Faulkner, G. (2004). Physical activity: Positive psychology in motion. In P. A. Linley & S. Joseph (Eds.), Positive psychology in practice (pp. 146–164). Hoboken: Wiley.Google Scholar
  42. Netz, Y., Wu, M.-J., Becker, B. J., & Tenenbaum, G. (2005). Physical activity and psychological well-being in advanced age: a meta-analysis of intervention studies. Psychology and Aging, 20(2), 272–284.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. O’Donovan, G., Blazevich, A. J., Boreham, C., Cooper, A. R., Crank, H., Ekelund, U., et al. (2010). The abc of physical activity for health: a consensus statement from the british association of sport and exercise sciences. Journal of Sports Sciences, 28(6), 573–591.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Oliver, R. L. (2010). Satisfaction: A behavioral perspective on the consumer (2nd ed.). Armonk: M.E. Sharpe, Inc.Google Scholar
  45. Park, N., Peterson, C., & Ruch, W. (2009). Orientations to happiness and life satisfaction in twenty-seven nations. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 4(4), 273–279.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Park-Perin, G. (2010). Positive psychology. In S. J. Hanrahan & M. B. Anderson (Eds.), Routledge handbook of applied sport psychology (pp. 141–149). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  47. Pavot, W., & Diener, E. (2008). The satisfaction with life scale and the emerging construct of life satisfaction. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 3(2), 137–152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Peterson, C., Park, N., & Seligman, M. E. P. (2005). Orientations to happiness and life satisfaction: the full life versus the empty life. Journal of Happiness Studies, 6(1), 25–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Porter, L. W., Steers, R. M., Mowday, R. T., & Boulian, P. V. (1974). Organizational commitment, job satisfaction, and turnover among psychiatric technicians. Journal of Applied Psychology, 59(5), 603–609.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Scully, D., Kremer, J., Meade, M. M., Graham, R., & Dudgeon, K. (1998). Physical exercise and psychological well being: a critical review. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 32(2), 111–120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Seligman, M. E. P. (2002). Authentic happiness: Using the new positive psychology to realize your potential for lasting fulfillment. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  52. Seligman, M. E. P. (2011). Flourish: A visionary new understanding of happiness and well-being. New York: Simon & Schuster, Inc.Google Scholar
  53. Seligman, M. E. P., & Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2000). Positive psychology: an introduction. American Psychologist, 55(1), 5–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Seligman, M. E. P., Steen, T. A., Park, N., & Peterson, C. (2005). Positive psychology progress. American Psychologist, 60(5), 410–421.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Seligman, M. E. P., Ernst, R. M., Gillham, J., Reivich, K., & Linkins, M. (2009). Positive education: positive psychology and classroom interventions. Oxford Review of Education, 35(3), 293–311.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Sheldon, K. M., & King, L. (2001). Why positive psychology is necessary. American Psychologist, 56(3), 216–217.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Sherif, M., & Cantril, H. (1947). The psychology of ego-involvements, social attitudes & identifications. New York: Wiley.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Steiger, J. H. (1990). Structural model evaluation and modification: An interval estimation approach. Multivariate Behavioral Research, 25(2), 173–180.Google Scholar
  59. Stein, G. L., Kimiecik, J. C., Daniels, J., & Jackson, S. A. (1995). Psychological antecedents of flow in recreational sport. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 21(2), 125–135.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Stine, R. A. (1989). An introduction to bootstrap methods. Sociological Methods & Research, 18(2–3), 243–291.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Varca, P. E., Shaffer, G. S., & Saunders, V. (1984). A longitudinal investigation of sport participation and life satisfaction. Journal of Sport Psychology, 6, 440–447.Google Scholar
  62. Wipfli, B., Landers, D., Nagoshi, C., & Ringenbach, S. (2011). An examination of serotonin and psychological variables in the relationship between exercise and mental health. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports.Google Scholar
  63. Wood, A. M., & Tarrier, N. (2010). Positive clinical psychology: a new vision and strategy for integrated research and practice. Clinical Psychology Review, 30(7), 819–829.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Yoshida, M., & James, J. D. (2010). Customer satisfaction with game and service experiences: antecedents and consequences. Journal of Sport Management, 24, 338–361.Google Scholar
  65. Zaichkowsky, J. L. (1985). Measuring the involvement construct. The Journal of Consumer Research, 12(3), 341–352.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Zhao, X., Lynch, J. G., Jr., & Chen, Q. (2010). Reconsidering baron and kenny: myths and truths about mediation analysis. Journal of Consumer Research, 37(2), 197–206.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht and The International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies (ISQOLS) 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hyun-Woo Lee
    • 1
  • Sunyun Shin
    • 2
  • Kyle S. Bunds
    • 3
  • Minjung Kim
    • 4
  • Kwang Min Cho
    • 5
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Sport ManagementFlorida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA
  2. 2.Department of Sports and Leisure StudiesYonsei UniversitySeoulKorea
  3. 3.Department of Sport ManagementFlorida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA
  4. 4.Department of Sport ManagementFlorida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA
  5. 5.Department of Sports and Leisure StudiesYonsei UniversitySeoulKorea

Personalised recommendations