Math anxiety is related to math difficulties and composed of emotion regulation and anxiety predisposition: A network analysis study

Lital Daches Cohen, Nachshon Korem, Orly Rubinsten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Current evidence suggests emotion regulation is an important factor in both math anxiety and math performance, but the interplay between these constructs is unexamined. Given the multicomponent structure of math anxiety, emotion regulation, and math performance, here, we aimed to provide a comprehensive model of the underlying nature of the links between these latent variables. Using the innovative network analysis approach, the study visualized the underlying links between directly observable and measurable variables that might be masked by traditional statistical approaches. One hundred and seventeen adults completed a battery of tests and questionnaires on math anxiety, emotion regulation, and math performance. The results revealed: (1) state math anxiety (the emotional experience in math-related situations), rather than trait math anxiety, was linked to anxiety predisposition, subjective valence of math information, and difficulties in emotion regulation; (2) the link between state math anxiety and math performance partialed out the link between trait math anxiety and performance. The study innovatively demonstrates the need to differentiate between traits and tendencies to the actual emotional experience and emotion regulation used in math anxiety. The results have important implications for the theoretical understanding of math anxiety and future discussions and work in the field.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1609
JournalBrain Sciences
Volume11
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments: This research was supported by the ISRAEL SCIENCE FOUNDATION (grant No 733/19).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

Keywords

  • Emotion regulation
  • Math anxiety
  • Math performance
  • Reappraisal
  • Suppression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (all)

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