The Correlates of Statistics Anxiety: Relationships with Spatial, Anxiety, Mathematics Anxiety and Gender
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Title: The Correlates of Statistics Anxiety: Relationships with Spatial, Anxiety, Mathematics Anxiety and Gender
Authors: Gibeau, R-M., Maloney, E.A., Béland, S., Lalande, D., Cantinotti, M., Williot, A., Chanquoy, L., Simon, J., Boislard-Pépin, M-A., & Cousineau, D.
Journal: Journal of Numerical Cognition, 9(1), 16-43.
Studies show that many undergraduate students in the Social Sciences and Humanities fields experience statistics anxiety (i.e., fear or apprehension towards statistics).
Statistics anxiety may be influenced by many different factors, including gender and mathematics anxiety.
Poor spatial skills and high spatial anxiety are associated with decreased math performance and increased math anxiety.
What Did We Ask?:
Is there a relationship between statistics anxiety and spatial anxiety?
If there is a relationship between statistics anxiety and spatial anxiety, does math anxiety influence the relationship between these two variables?
How Did We Do it?: 778 Social and Health Sciences students who took a statistics course were asked to fill out questionnaires about their spatial anxiety, math anxiety, statistics anxiety, social anxiety, and trait anxiety. The data were analyzed using Pearson’s correlations, mediation models and multiple regressions.
What Did We Find?:
We found that spatial anxiety, math anxiety, and statistics anxiety are strongly and positively correlated.
Math anxiety was found to partially mediate the relationship between spatial anxiety and statistics anxiety, meaning that statistics anxiety can be predicted by spatial anxiety through math anxiety and by spatial anxiety alone.
Mental manipulation in spatial anxiety seems to be the strongest predictor of interpretation anxiety in statistics apart from math anxiety.
The gender effect on statistics anxiety (the higher anxiety reported by women) is no longer a predictor when spatial anxiety is considered in the model.
Take Away Message:
Spatial anxiety may play a key role in the level of statistics anxiety experienced by Social and Health Sciences students.
Alongside the growing body of research on statistics anxiety, there is a heightened need to understand how to reduce statistics anxiety and spatial anxiety to improve the confidence and performance of students. Future research should focus on developing tools for teaching statistics in a way that reduces student anxiety and increases student comprehension. A possible solution may lie within spatial skills.
Brought to you by Dr. Erin Maloney’s Cognition and Emotion Lab at the University of Ottawa.