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Burnout in teachers is related to different maladaptive outcomes. This study aimed at exploring the relationship between emotional exhaustion and motivation to teach in 93 physical education teachers. Results showed that teachers report more emotional exhaustion when they are less autonomously motivated, while the opposite relationship was found for controlled motivation. Next, four motivational profiles were identified by means of cluster analyses: (a) a relative controlled group, (b) a relative lowly motivated group, (c) a relative autonomous group, and (d) a relative highly motivated group. The controlled group reported most emotional exhaustion, whereas the relative autonomous and highly motivated group had the lowest scores on emotional exhaustion. The results indicate that being autonomously motivated may function as a “buffer” against the development of emotional exhaustion. This implicates that it is important for politicians, directors, teachers, and teacher educators to consider teachers’ type of motivation to teach to prevent emotional exhaustion.
Van den Berghe, Cardon, Tallir, and Haerens are with the Department of Movement and Sport Sciences, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium. Aelterman and Vansteenkiste are with the Department of Developmental, Personality and Social Psychology, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium.