Developmental relations between mathematics anxiety, symbolic numerical magnitude processing and arithmetic skills from first to second grade

Riikka Mononen, Markku Niemivirta, Johan Korhonen, Marcus Lindskog, Anna Tapola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We investigated the levels of and changes in mathematics anxiety (MA), symbolic numerical magnitude processing (SNMP) and arithmetic skills, and how those changes are linked to each other. Children’s (n = 264) MA, SNMP and arithmetic skills were measured in Grade 1, and again in Grade 2, also including a mathematics performance test. All three constructs correlated significantly within each time point, and the rank-order stability over time was high, particularly in SNMP and arithmetic skills. By means of latent change score modelling, we found overall increases in SNMP and arithmetic skills over time, but not in MA. Most interestingly, changes in arithmetic skills and MA were correlated (i.e. steeper increase in arithmetic skills was linked with less steep increase in MA), as were changes in SNMP and arithmetic skills (i.e. improvement in SNMP was associated with improvement in arithmetic skills). Only the initial level of arithmetic skills and change in it predicted mathematics performance. The only gender difference, in favour of boys, was found in SNMP skills. The differential effects associated with MA (developmentally only linked with arithmetic skills) and gender (predicting only changes in SNMP) call for further longitudinal research on the different domains of mathematical skills.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-21
JournalCognition and Emotion
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 Dec 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • arithmetic
  • gender differences
  • latent change score modelling
  • mathematics anxiety
  • symbolical numerical magnitude processing

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