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Math Anxiety and Gender

Although math anxiety afflicts boys and men, it affects women more often than men, Sheila Tobias claimed in her groundbreaking book, Overcoming Math Anxiety, more than 30 years ago. That is why efforts to understand and treat math anxiety and math underachievement overlap 3 decades of research into gender and cognition, gender and school motivation, gender and self-efficacy, and gender and achievement. This entry reviews that research.

Early Studies: 1972–1980

In the early 1970s, long before the issue of mathematics and women became politicized, several researchers, notably Frank Richardson and Richard Suinn, developed and applied a mathematics anxiety rating scale. The purpose of the anxiety scale was simply to find a psychometrically reliable set of measures with a straightforward set of self-administered questions about learner attitudes. The ...

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