Perceived relatedness-support matters most for teacher well-being: A self-determination theory perspective

Joseph Yap HAW, Ma. Jenina N. NALIPAY, Ronnel B. KING

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2 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigated whether teachers’ perceptions of school leaders’ need-supportive practices were associated with teacher well-being using variable- and person-centred approaches. Self-determination theory was used as the theoretical lens. A sample of 611 high school teachers nested in 14 schools participated in this study. We first examined whether need-supportive leadership practices (i.e. support for autonomy, competence, and relatedness) were associated with well-being and ill-being via autonomous motivation. Results revealed that relatedness-support was positively associated with well-being and negatively associated with ill-being. However, autonomy and competence-support were not significant predictors. Next, we identified the existence of different subgroups of teachers based on their perceived need-supportive leadership using a person-centred approach. Results indicated four distinct subgroups: dissatisfied, ambivalent, average, and thriving teachers. Dissatisfied teachers have very low perceived need-support and scored particularly low in competence- and relatedness-support. Ambivalent teachers reported especially low relatedness-support. Average teachers reported average levels of need-support with scores close to the group average. Lastly, thriving teachers indicated the highest levels of perceived need-support. Each subgroup showed distinct motivation and well-being profiles. Overall, the variable and person-centred approaches provided converging evidence showing the importance of perceived need-supportive leadership for teachers’ motivation and well-being. Theoretical and practical implications were discussed. Copyright © 2023 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Original languageEnglish
JournalTeachers and Teaching
Early online dateOct 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Oct 2023


Haw, J. Y., Nalipay, M. J. N., & King, R. B. (2023). Perceived relatedness-support matters most for teacher well-being: A self-determination theory perspective. Teachers and Teaching. Advance online publication.


  • SDT
  • Perceived need-supportive school leadership
  • Variable and person-centred approach
  • Autonomous motivation
  • Teacher well-being
  • PG student publication


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