Bernadett Svraka, Eötvos Lorand University Faculty of Primary and Preschool Education, Budapest
Szilvia Adam, Semmelweis University, Budapest
Introduction: The negative correlation of mathematical anxiety and mathematical performance often coincides and so many people think that a high level of mathematical anxiety results in poor mathematical performance. This may result in different symptoms and consequences in different cases.
Aims: The purpose of our research was to explore the prevalence of mathematical anxiety and to evaluate the relationship between anxiety and performance among Hungarian students.
Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional survey with self-administered questionnaires among 1200 secondary school students of the sixth grade. Anxiety was measured by the Mathematical Anxiety Measuring Test, whose main domains are emotional physiological symptoms and cognitive symptoms such as attitudes, attributes, and beliefs. Associations were assessed by descriptive correlation analysis.
Results: The prevalence of mathematical anxiety among Hungarian students was 15%. We identified a clear significant negative association between performance and all variables of anxiety. Performance had the strongest association with attitudes, and the weakest with attributes, both a variable of cognitive symptoms. Girls were more anxious when solving a math problem. We identified a significant, a fairly strong, negative relationship between performance and every domain of anxiety. There was a clear, significant, intermediate-strength, negative relationship between performance and all the domains and variables of anxiety among children diagnosed with difficulty of learning mathematics. In this group of subjects, the correlation coefficient was significantly higher than that among the full sample.
Conclusions: Anxiety and mathematical performance are close correlates, which was more pronounced among girls. Poorer performance may lead to higher anxiety. However, further studies are needed to confirm our results and to explore the consequences of mathematical anxiety.
Doctoral School: Semmelweis University Doctoral School of Mental Health Sciences
Program: Mental Health Sciences
Supervisor: Dr Szilvia Adam
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