The four channels of flow (Csikszentmihalyi & Csikszentmihaly, 1988) posit that high and low levels of skills and challenges comprise flow, boredom, frustration, and apathy. This theory has been frequently applied to explanation of flow formulation. This theory, however, lacks empirical evidences on if high/low skill/challenge formulates the four channels. Empirical evidence of the formulation of the four channels of flow is necessary for ensuring its validity. This study thus sampled 253 online gamers to examine whether skills and challenges formulate the four channels of flow. Consistent with the theory of the four channels of flow, this study found that gaming skill is positively related to flow and boredom, whereas negatively related to frustration and apathy. Challenge encountered in gaming is positively related to flow, frustration, whereas negatively related to apathy. However, this study did not observe a theoretical negative relation between challenge and boredom, indicating the necessity for future research.
Teng, Ching-I and Lin, Shu-Hua, "Examination of Four Channels of Flow" (2009). ICEB 2009 Proceedings (Macau, SAR China). 40.