Attitudes and Affect: Daily Emotions and Their Association with the Commitment and Burnout of Beginning Teachers

Feb. 01, 2012

Source: Teachers College Record,Volume 114 Number 2, 2012.

Purpose of the Study

The authors tested a framework developed in the organizational behavior literature known as affective events theory (AET).
This theory proposes that emotional responses to work, coupled with abstract beliefs about one’s job, can influence overall judgments about job satisfaction.

Specifically, the authors drew on research from education and organizational behavior to test whether mean levels of positive affect, negative affect, skill, and fatigue are associated with intentions to remain in teaching, commitment to one’s school, and levels of burnout.

Research Design
Sources of data in this study include survey data collected at two time points (fall 2007 and spring 2008) from 42 beginning general and special education teachers in three districts in Michigan and Indiana.
Furthermore, data were also collected using the experience sampling method (ESM), a time sampling method for gaining information about individuals’ immediate experiences.


The authors found that mean levels of positive affect and skill are positively associated with commitment, even when controlling for prior commitment.
Similarly, negative affect and tiredness seem to be predictive of teacher burnout.

These results suggest that by taking account of teachers’ emotional reactions to their work, researchers, policymakers, and district administrators will be better positioned to support special and general educators during their early years of teaching.

Updated: May. 23, 2012