What is it about?

Drawing on an existing typology, this study used latent transition profile analysis (LTPA) to examine changes in the striving and wellbeing profiles among teachers from their early until midcareer. Five profiles were identified (Sparing, Good Health, Ambitious, Burnout, and Wornout) among a longitudinal sample of 414 Australian secondary and primary teachers. LTPA showed that 28% of teachers were movers over time. Most movers from maladaptive types underwent a recovery transition to a more adaptive profile by midcareer, although initial Burnout and Wornout profiles were overrepresented among those who subsequently quit teaching. Perceived excessive work demands and supportive leadership were sig-nificant covariates: Perceived excessive work demands decreased the likelihood of transitioning to Good Health or Ambitious profiles; supportive leadership increased the likelihood of transitioning to Ambitious. Profiles were associated with teachers’ professional engagement; the Wornout profile exhib-ited the lowest, and the Ambitious and Good Health profiles the highest professional engagement by mid-career. Implications for theory and policy to support teachers' development and wellbeing are discussed.

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Why is it important?

Teachers' job burnout is an ongoing concern. Self-report surveys from 414 primary and secondary teachers from their early until midcareer revealed five profiles of Sparing, Good Health, Ambitious, Burnout, and Wornout. Seventy-two percent of teachers remained in a same profile from early to midcareer. Many who transitioned underwent recovery to a more adaptive profile by midcareer. Of concern were the 72% who stayed in a Wornout profile and the 51% who remained in a Burnout profile. These teachers had lower engagement and were more likely to quit. Perceived excessive work demands made it less likely for Burnout and Wornout teachers to recover. Supportive leadership, on the other hand, increased the chances of transitioning to an Ambitious profile. Policymakers and school leaders could boost professional engagement and wellbeing by addressing an increasingly pervasive culture of excessive demand to lessen the multiple and competing demands faced by beginning teachers.


How teachers start out their career really matters for their future development in the profession. High-risk types of Burnout and Wornout account for one-third of beginning teachers! A culture of excessive demand stifles adaptive development.

Professor Helen Watt
The University of Sydney

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This page is a summary of: Profiles of teachers’ striving and wellbeing: Evolution and relations with context factors, retention, and professional engagement., Journal of Educational Psychology, April 2022, American Psychological Association (APA),
DOI: 10.1037/edu0000702.
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