Shedding light on relations between teacher emotions, instructional behavior, and student school well-being – Evidence from disadvantaged schools

Julia Holzer, Luisa Grützmacher, Marko Lüftenegger, Manfred Prenzel, Barbara Schober

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Despite broad theoretical consensus on the direct and indirect relevance of teacher emotions for instructional behavior and student outcomes, empirical evidence is inconclusive. Moreover, there is limited research in this area involving disadvantaged and younger student populations, and addressing students’ school well-being as an outcome explicitly. Aims: This study investigates associations between teacher emotions (joy, anger, anxiety), teacher-reports of instructional behavior (cognitive and motivational stimulation, classroom management, and social support), and students' reported school well-being (positive emotions and intrinsic motivation experienced at school), hypothesizing effects of teacher emotions on student school well-being, mediated via teachers’ instructional behavior. Sample: Participants were 1550 primary school students and their 134 homeroom teachers from 50 Austrian disadvantaged schools. Methods: Data were collected using written online questionnaires and analyzed applying Bayesian multilevel mediation analysis. Results: Teachers' joy positively related to aspects of all assessed dimensions of instructional behavior. Anger and anxiety related negatively only to aspects of classroom management. No associations were identified between teachers' instructional behavior and student school well-being, or teachers’ joy or anxiety and student school well-being, rejecting the mediation assumption. Surprisingly, teacher anger positively related to student intrinsic motivation. Conclusions: This study supports theoretical assumptions on the role of teacher emotions for instruction but did not replicate theorized indirect effects of teacher emotions via instructional behavior on student outcomes. In contrast, the identified direct association between teacher anger and student intrinsic motivation represents a valence-incongruent link which evokes interesting perspectives and stimulates a further differentiation of established theoretical assumptions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101926
JournalLearning and Instruction
StatePublished - Aug 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • Disadvantaged schools
  • Instructional quality
  • Primary school
  • Student school well-being
  • Teacher emotions


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