Meta-analysis: antecedents and consequences of motivation in teachers

In a recent article, Slemp et al. (2020) present the results of a meta-analysis of the antecedents and consequences of controlled motivation and autonomous motivation in teachers. The meta-analysis, which analyzed 1117 correlation coefficients from 102 samples, tested important predictions of the self-determination theory.


The study examined the relationships between the three sets of variables below:


The study showed clear benefits of autonomous teacher motivation. Autonomously motivated teachers were more satisfied, committed and engaged than controlled motivated teachers. In addition, they felt better and suffered less from burnout, stress and anxiety. They also made more use of autonomy-supporting behavior in their teaching. Other research shows that the latter increases the chance of positive outcomes for pupils / students.

The figure below summarizes the main results.

The satisfaction of basic psychological needs for autonomy, competence and relatedness predicted these positive teacher outcomes mainly through autonomous motivation. In summary, these results show that providing needs support to teachers predicts their autonomous motivation which in turn predicts well-being and autonomy support to learners.


Teachers play an important role in our society. In order to do their job well, they need to be motivated. This contributes to their feeling and functioning better. This benefits students and society as a whole.

Training teachers is important and something that is already receiving a lot of attention. Based on the results of the research described here, it is obvious that training managers in educational organizations is also sensible. By training these leaders in autonomy-supporting leadership, they contribute to a better quality of motivation in teachers.