Structured vs. unstructured activity, carried out alone vs. in the company of others, and the optimal experience.

Belén Mesurado


This is the presentation of the results of an empiric work, about the differences observed in the flow experience depending on the type of task (structured vs. unstructured) that is carried out, on the way in which it is carried out (alone vs. in the company of others) and on demographic variables (age and sex) in children and adolescents. The sample included 801 participants from 9 to 15 years of age, who attend either public or private schools of middle socioeconomic level. The flow experience was evaluated by means of the Questionnaire of Optimal Experience for chil-dren and adolescents (Mesurado, 2008). The results indicate that children and adolescents who choose structured tasks as intrinsically motivating activities, they reach a higher level of optimal experience that those who choose unstructured tasks. Also, it can be observed that when they carry out the tasks in the company of others, they go through higher optimal experience that when they do so alone. In the same way, there are differ-ences connected to age, but not to sex, since both females and males experience similar levels of satisfaction o gratification during the perform-ance of an intrinsically motivating task.


Optimal experience; structured activity; unstructured activity; intrinsic motivation

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