Math Anxiety Takes Bigger Toll on Girls: Study

TUESDAY July 10, 2012 -- Although both boys and girls may experience math anxiety, which is a discomfort solving math problems, the girls' math achievements are more likely to suffer as a result, according to a new study.

Researchers from Cambridge University in England said that math anxiety could explain why few students of either sex continue studying math at the college level.

The study appeared July 8 in the journal Behavioral and Brain Functions.

"Mathematics anxiety warrants attention in the classroom because it could have negative consequences for later mathematics education, particularly as it is thought to develop during the primary school years," said lead study author Denes Szucs in a news release from BioMed Central, the journal publisher.

The researchers examined 433 British high school students to find out if math anxiety took a toll on their academic performance in math.

After accounting for general test anxiety, they found that students with higher math anxiety had lower math performance than other children. Girls were more likely than boys to have higher levels of math anxiety.

However, math performance for girls was the same as for boys, the researchers found. They concluded that girls could do better in math if they didn't have so much anxiety surrounding the subject.

More information

Texas State University has more about math anxiety.

Posted: July 2012


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