Multidimensionality in the measurement of math-specific anxiety and its relationship with mathematical performance

Sarah L. Lukowski, Jack DiTrapani, Minjeong Jeon, Zhe Wang, Victoria J.Schenker, Madeline M. Doran, Sara A. Hart, Michèle M.M. Mazzocco, Erik G. Willcutt, Lee A.Thompson, Stephen A. Petrill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Traditionally, mathematical anxiety has been utilized as a unidimensional construct. However, math-specific anxiety may have distinguishable factors, and taking these factors into account may better illuminate the relationship between anxiety and mathematics performance. Drawing from the Western Reserve Reading and Math Project (N = 244 children, mean age = 12.28 years), the present study examined math-specific anxiety and mathematics problem evaluation, utilizing a structural equation modeling approach with an item-level measurement model structure. Results suggested math-specific anxiety tapped into three factors: anxiety about performing mathematical calculations, anxiety about math in classroom situations, and anxiety about math tests. Among the three math anxiety factors, only calculation anxiety was significantly and negatively related to math performance while holding other anxiety factors constant. Implications for the measurement of math-specific anxiety are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)228-235
Number of pages8
JournalLearning and Individual Differences
StatePublished - Feb 2019


  • Dimensionality
  • Math anxiety
  • Mathematics
  • School-aged children


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