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Teacher burnout and student outcomes: is there a link and are student-teacher relationships a predictor?

05 December 2019

Author: Jasmine Janet Field

Psychological theory suggests that the quality of positive relationships teachers have with children could act as a resource to support their wellbeing by increasing the quality of intrinsic motivation to engage in teaching (Bakker & Demerouti, 2007b; Deci & Ryan, 2000).

On the other hand, negative relationships may elicit negative emotions and eventually trigger a burnout cascade.

Appraisal of the literature suggests there is a link between teacher wellbeing and student-teacher relationships (STR), with more consistent findings indicating a relationship between burnout and stress and conflict in the STR. This finding is of importance as positive STR have been shown to form the basis for much learning in education. Consequently, it was proposed that teacher wellbeing may indirectly have an impact on student outcomes through the STR.

Therefore, the aim of this research was to explore the association between teacher burnout and student outcomes, specifically wellbeing and academic self-concept.

Further, it explored if this relationship was predicted by the quality of STR. Cross-sectional data was analysed from 596 children (aged 9 and 10) and their 31 teachers.

The results demonstrated teachers’ depersonalisation and personal accomplishment significantly predicted student physical wellbeing but not psychological wellbeing or academic self-concept.

In addition, significant class differences were found for school satisfaction, with STR and psychological wellbeing accounting for this difference. Whereas, the dimensions of teacher burnout, did not improve model fit or account for a significant proportion of variance.

Furthermore, post-hoc results showed that teacher burnout and academic self-concept account for some variance in the STR.

Overall, this research indicates the importance of intervening not only directly at the student


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