Springer Nature is making Coronavirus research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Do quality teacher–student relationships protect teachers from emotional exhaustion? The mediating role of enjoyment and anger


Teaching can be an emotionally exhausting profession, thus mechanisms that protect teachers from feeling emotionally overextended need to be investigated. In two studies, we examined the indirect role teacher–student relationships have on teachers’ level of emotional exhaustion through teachers’ experiences of enjoyment and anger. In the first, we used a latent path analysis to examine the indirect effect of teacher-perceived (N = 266) teacher–student-relationships on teachers’ emotional exhaustion in a cross-sectional design. In the second study, we extended these findings to a longitudinal design that utilized student perceptions and replicated the indirect effect of teacher–student relationships on teachers’ (N = 69) emotional exhaustion using student (N = 1643) perceptions of teacher–student relationships. The results from both studies indicated that high quality teacher–student relationships help protect teachers from being emotionally exhausted through increasing the amount of enjoyment and decreasing the amount of anger they experienced in the classroom.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3


  1. Baumeister, R. F., & Leary, M. R. (1995). The need to belong: Desire for interpersonal attachments as a fundamental human motivation. Psychological Bulletin, 117(3), 497.

  2. Bentler, P. M. (2007). On tests and indices for evaluating structural models. Personality and Individual Differences, 42, 825–829.

  3. Bliese, P. D. (2000). Within-group agreement, non-independence, and reliability: Implications for data aggregation and analysis. In K. J. Klein & S. W. Kozlowski (Eds.), Multilevel theory, research, and methods in organizations (pp. 349–381). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

  4. Böhm-Kasper, O., Bos, W., Jaeckel, S., & Weishaupt, H. (2000). Skalenhandbuch zur Belastung von Schülern und Lehrern. Das Erfurter Belastungs-Inventar Erfurter Materialien und Berichte zur Entwicklung des Bildungswesens (Bd. 2). Erfurt: Universität Erfurt.

  5. Bonanno, G. A., & Keltner, D. (1999). Facial expressions of emotion and the course of conjugal bereavement. Psychological Bulletin, 125(6), 760–776.

  6. Browne, M. W., Cudeck, R., Bollen, K. A., & Long, J. S. (1993). Alternative ways of assessing model fit. Sage Focus Editions, 154, 136–162.

  7. Butler, R. (2012). Striving to connect: Extending an achievement goal approach to teacher motivation to include relational goals for teaching. Journal of Educational Psychology, 104(3), 726–742.

  8. Cacioppo, J. T., Hughes, M. E., Waite, L. J., Hawkley, L. C., & Thisted, R. A. (2006). Loneliness as a specific risk factor for depressive symptoms: Cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses. Psychology and Aging, 21(1), 140.

  9. Cameron, L. D., & Jago, L. (2008). Emotion regulation interventions: A common-sense model approach. British Journal of Health Psychology, 13(2), 215–221.

  10. Carson, R. L. (2006). Exploring the episodic nature of teachers’ emotions as it relates to teacher burnout. (67), ProQuest Information & Learning, US. Retrieved from Available from EBSCOhost psyh database.

  11. Chang, M. L. (2009). An appraisal perspective of teacher burnout: Examining the emotional work of teachers. Educational Psychology Review, 21, 191–218.

  12. Cole, C. L., & Goettsch, S. L. (1981). Self-disclosure and relationship quality. Alternative Lifestyles, 4(4), 428–466.

  13. Collins, N. L., & Miller, L. C. (1994). Self-disclosure and liking: A meta-analytic review. Psychological Bulletin, 116(3), 457–475.

  14. de Heus, P., & Diekstra, R. F. W. (1999). Do teachers burn out more easily? A comparison of teachers with other social professions on work stress and burnout symptoms. In R. V. A. M. Huberman (Ed.), Understanding and preventing teacher burnout: A sourcebook of international research and practice (pp. 269–284). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

  15. Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (2000). The “what” and “why” of goal pursuits: Human needs and the self-determination of behavior. Psychological Inquiry, 11(4), 227–268.

  16. Fokkens-Bruinsma, M., & Canrinus, E. T. (2014). Motivation for becoming a teacher and engagement with the profession: Evidence from different contexts. International Journal of Educational Research, 65, 65–74.

  17. Folkman, S., & Moskowitz, J. T. (2000). Positive affect and the other side of coping. American Psychologist, 55(6), 647–654.

  18. Fredrickson, B. L. (2001). The role of positive emotions in positive psychology: The braoden-and-build theory of positive emotions. American Psychologist, 56(3), 218–226.

  19. Frenzel, A. C. (2014). Teacher emotions. In R. Pekrun & L. Linnenbrink-Garcia (Eds.), International handbook of emotions in education. New York, NY: Routledge.

  20. Frenzel, A. C., Becker-Kurz, B., Pekrun, R., & Goetz, T. (2015). Teaching this class drives me nuts!–Examining the person and context specificity of teacher emotions. PLoS ONE, 10(6), e0129630.

  21. Frenzel, A. C., Pekrun, R., Goetz, T., Daniels, L. M., Durksen, T. L., Becker-Kurz, B., et al. (2016). Measuring teachers’ enjoyment, anger, and anxiety: The Teacher Emotions Scales (TES). Contemporary Educational Psychology, 46, 148–163.

  22. Gehlbach, H., Brinkworth, M. E., & Harris, A. D. (2012). Changes in teacher–student relationships. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 82(4), 690–704.

  23. Hagenauer, G., Hascher, T., & Volet, S. E. (2015). Teacher emotions in the classroom: Associations with students’ engagement, classroom discipline and the interpersonal teacher–student relationship. European Journal of Psychology of Education, 30(4), 385–403.

  24. Hakanen, J. J., Bakker, A. B., & Schaufeli, W. B. (2006). Burnout and work engagement among teachers. Journal of School Psychology, 43(6), 495–513.

  25. Hargreaves, A. (2000). Mixed emotions: Teachers’ perceptions of their interactions with students. Teaching and Teacher Education, 16, 811–826.

  26. Hayes, A. F. (2013). Introduction to mediation, moderation, and conditional process analysis: A regression-based approach. New York, NY: Guilford Press.

  27. Hogarty, K. Y., Lang, T. R., & Kromrey, J. D. (2003). Another look at technology use in classrooms: The development and validation of an instrument to measure teachers’ perceptions. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 63, 138–161.

  28. 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.

  29. Hülsheger, U. R., Alberts, H. J., Feinholdt, A., & Lang, J. W. (2013). Benefits of mindfulness at work: The role of mindfulness in emotion regulation, emotional exhaustion, and job satisfaction. Journal of Applied Psychology, 98(2), 310.

  30. Ingersoll, R. M., & Strong, M. (2011). The impact of induction and mentoring programs for beginning teachers: A critical review of the research. Review of Educational Research, 81(2), 201–233.

  31. Johnson, S., Cooper, C., Cartwright, S., Donald, I., Taylor, P., & Millet, C. (2005). The experience of work-related stress across occupations. Journal of managerial psychology, 20(2), 178–187.

  32. Keller, M. M., Chang, M.-L., Becker, E. S., Goetz, T., & Frenzel, A. C. (2014a). Teachers’ emotional experiences and exhaustion as predictors of emotional labor in the classroom: An Experience Sampling study. Frontiers in Psychology.

  33. Keller, M. M., Frenzel, A. C., Goetz, T., Pekrun, R., & Hensley, L. (2014b). Exploring teacher emotions: A literature review and an experience sampling study. In P. W. Richardson, S. Karabenick, & H. M. G. Watt (Eds.), Teacher motivation: Theory and practice (pp. 69–82). New York: Routledge.

  34. Keltner, D., & Haidt, J. (1999). Social functions of emotions at four levels of analysis. Cognition and Emotion, 13(5), 505–521.

  35. Klassen, R. M., Perry, N. E., & Frenzel, A. C. (2012). Teachers’ relatedness with students: An underemphasized component of teachers’ basic psychological needs. Journal of Educational Psychology, 104(1), 150–165.

  36. Klusmann, U., Kunter, M., Trautwein, U., Lüdtke, O., & Baumert, J. (2008a). Engagement and emotional exhaustion in teachers: Does the school context make a difference? Applied Psychology, 57, 127–151.

  37. Klusmann, U., Kunter, M., Trautwein, U., Lüdtke, O., & Baumert, J. (2008b). Teachers’ occupational well-being and quality of instruction: The important role of self-regulatory patterns. Journal of Educational Psychology, 100(3), 702–715.

  38. Le Cornu, R. (2013). Building early career teacher resilience: The role of relationships. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 38(4), n4.

  39. Leung, D. Y. P., & Lee, W. W. S. (2006). Predicting intention to quit among Chinese teachers: Differential predictability of the components of burnout. Anxiety Stress and Coping, 19(2), 129–141.

  40. Lüdtke, O., Robitzsch, A., Trautwein, U., & Kunter, M. (2009). Assessing the impact of learning environments: How to use student ratings of classroom or school characteristics in multilevel modeling. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 34(2), 120–131.

  41. Maslach, C., Jackson, S. E., & Leiter, M. P. (1996). Maslach burnout inventory (3rd ed.). Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press.

  42. Maslach, C., Schaufeli, W. B., & Leiter, M. P. (2001). Job burnout. Annual Review of Psychology, 52, 397–422.

  43. McDonald, R. P., & Marsh, H. W. (1990). Choosing a multivariate model: Noncentrality and goodness of fit. Psychological Bulletin, 107(2), 247–255.

  44. Metler, C. A. (2003). Patterns of response and nonresponse from teachers to traditional and web surveys. Practical Assessement, Research & Evaluation, 8(22). Retrieved from

  45. Murray, C., & Zvoch, K. (2010). The inventory of teacher–student relationships: Factor structure, reliability, and validity among African American youth in low-income urban schools. The Journal of Early Adolescence, 31(4), 493–525.

  46. Muthén, L. K., & Muthén, B. O. (1998–2013). Mplus user’s guide (7th ed.). Los Angeles, CA: Muthén & Muthén.

  47. Preacher, K. J., & Hayes, A. F. (2008). Asymptotic and resampling strategies for assessing and comparing indirect effects in multiple mediator models. Behavior Research Methods, 40(3), 879–891.

  48. Roorda, D. L., Koomen, H. M. Y., Spilt, J. L., & Oort, F. J. (2011). The influence of affective teacher–student relationships on students’ school engagement and achievement: a meta-analytic approach. Review of Educational Research.

  49. Snijders, T. A. B., & Bosker, R. J. (1999). Multilevel analysis: An introduction to basic and advanced multilevel modeling. London: Sage.

  50. Spilt, J. L., Koomen, H. M. Y., & Thijs, J. (2011). Teacher wellbing: The importance of teacher–student relationships. Educational Psychology Review, 23, 457–477.

  51. Taxer, J. L., & Frenzel, A. C. (2015). Facets of teachers’ emotional lives: A quantitative investigation of teachers’ genuine, faked, and hidden emotions. Teaching and Teacher Education, 49, 78–88.

  52. van Horn, J. E., Taris, T. W., Schaufeli, W. B., & Schreurs, P. J. G. (2004). The structure of occupational well-being: A study among Dutch teachers. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 77(3), 365–375.

  53. van Kleef, G. A. (2009). How emotions regulate social life: The emotions as social information (EASI) model. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 18(3), 184–188.

  54. Watt, H. M. G., & Richardson, P. W. (2007). Motivational factors influencing teaching as a career choice: Development and validation of the FIT-choice scale. The Journal of Experimental Education, 75(3), 167–202.

  55. Wolpin, J., Burke, R. J., & Greenglass, E. R. (1991). Is job satisfaction an antecedent or a consequence of psychological burnout? Human Relations, 44(2), 193–209.

Download references


Preparation of this article was supported by a grant from the German Research Foundation (TA 1184/1) to Jamie Taxer.

Author information

Correspondence to Jamie L. Taxer.

Ethics declarations

Ethical standards

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the University of Munich and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Conflict of interest

Jamie L. Taxer declares that she has no conflict of interest. Anne C. Frenzel declares that she has no conflict of interest. Betty Becker-Kurz declares that she has no conflict of interest.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Taxer, J.L., Becker-Kurz, B. & Frenzel, A.C. Do quality teacher–student relationships protect teachers from emotional exhaustion? The mediating role of enjoyment and anger. Soc Psychol Educ 22, 209–226 (2019).

Download citation


  • Teacher–student relationships
  • Teacher emotions
  • Anger
  • Enjoyment
  • Emotional exhaustion