Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Do Girls Really Experience More Anxiety in Mathematics?

Empirical educational researchers from Konstanz and Kreuzlingen in Germany and Switzerland question gender differences in mathematics anxiety.

Women are under-represented in math-intensive occupations, consistent with the stereotype that females are more anxious and less capable in mathematics than males. In cooperation with colleagues at the University of Munich, the Humboldt University of Berlin, and McGill University in Montreal, educational research by Dr. Thomas Götz and Madeleine Bieg of the University of Konstanz and the Thurgau University of Teacher Education points to a critical limitation of previous studies:

They did not assess anxiety during actual math classes and exams but asked students to describe more generalized perceptions of mathematics anxiety. To address this limitation, these researchers examined approximately 700 students and evaluated their anxiety during actual classes and exams, comparing these evaluations with generalized self-report measures of mathematics anxiety.

The result: Girls reported more anxiety than boys on the generalized self-report measure but were in fact not more anxious during actual classes and exams. Detailed results will be published in the journal “Psychological Science” at Wednesday, 28 August 2013.

Two studies examined approximately 700 students from grades 5 to 11. In Study 1, students’ responses to a questionnaire measuring anxiety concerning math tests were compared to real-time self-reports of anxiety directly before and during a math exam. In Study 2, questionnaire measures of math anxiety were contrasted with repeated real-time assessments obtained during math classes via mobile devices.

Study findings replicated prior research and gender stereotypes in showing girls to report more math anxiety than boys on generalized assessments – despite similar math achievement. However, data obtained during real-life math exams and classes showed girls to not experience more anxiety than boys. Findings also suggested that girls’ lower self-concept in mathematics may underlie this discrepancy, with questionnaires allowing inaccurate ability beliefs to negatively bias girls’ assessments of their math abilities and exacerbate their anxiety in this domain.

These findings thus suggest that girls do not actually experience more math anxiety than boys in the classroom, with gender differences being observed only on generalized assessments that permit bias due to gender stereotypes. These results further suggest that stereotyped beliefs regarding math ability, rather than actual ability or anxiety differences, may be largely responsible for women not choosing to pursue careers in math-intensive domains.

Original publication:
Goetz, T., Bieg, M., Lüdtke, O., Pekrun, R., & Hall, N. C., (in press). Do girls really experience more anxiety in mathematics? Psychological Science. (, pub-lished at Wednesday, 28 August 2013)
University of Konstanz
Communications and Marketing
phone: +49 7531 / 88-3603
Prof. Dr. Thomas Götz
University of Konstanz
Empirical Educational Research
Universitätsstraße 10
78464 Konstanz
phone: +49 7531 / 88-4144

Julia Wandt | idw
Further information:

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Diagnoses: When Are Several Opinions Better Than One?
19.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht High in calories and low in nutrients when adolescents share pictures of food online
07.04.2016 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>