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Math Education

“Who Is Afraid of Math? Two Sources of Genetic Variance for Math Anxiety”

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Mathematics anxiety can be explained, at least in part, by genetic factors, says a recent study published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.

Researchers followed 216 identical twins and 298 same-sex fraternal twins over about a seven-year period, starting when they were in kindergarten or 1st grade. The 11 authors measured students' math anxiety, general anxiety, math problem-solving skills, and reading comprehension through a battery of assessments.

They found that genetic factors related to general anxiety and math cognition accounted for 40 percent of the variance in math anxiety among students. The other 60 percent was explained by environmental factors specific to the child. (Variance describes distance from a statistical mean.)

Vol. 33, Issue 28, Page 5

Published in Print: April 16, 2014, as Math Education
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