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Work pressures stemming from school authorities and burnout among physical education teachers: the mediating role of psychological needs thwarting

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journal contribution
posted on 10.06.2021, 11:02 by Evelia Franco, Ricardo Cuevas, Javier Coterón, Christopher Spray
Purpose: To examine the role of psychological need thwarting in mediating physical education teachers’ work pressures stemming from school authorities and burnout. Method: A total of 345 physical education teachers (M = 47.46; SD = 8.79) completed some online validated questionnaires. Results: Structural equation modeling first revealed that pressures from school authorities predicted needs thwarting which, in turn, predicted burnout. In a second model, in which burnout was deemed as a multidimensional construct, autonomy and competence thwarting was found to predict both emotional exhaustion and depersonalization. Discussion: These findings suggest that when teachers find themselves pressured by school authorities to act in certain way, they are more likely to feel more exhausted and to adopt more cynical attitudes toward their students due to the thwarting of their basic needs. Practical implications related to school and national policies are discussed. Conclusion: External pressures affect PE teachers’ emotional states and educational policies should address this issue.


This work was supported by the Universidad Pontificia Comillas within the Project “Influence of dispositional and contextual variables among physical education teachers on their teaching and their students’ motivation”.



  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

Published in

Journal of Teaching in Physical Education


Human Kinetics


AM (Accepted Manuscript)

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© Human Kinetics, Inc.

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Accepted author manuscript version reprinted, by permission, from Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, 2021, © Human Kinetics, Inc.

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Dr Christopher Spray. Deposit date: 20 January 2021