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No Excess of Mathematics Anxiety in Adolescents Born Very Preterm

journal contribution
posted on 25.09.2020 by Jayne Trickett, Camilla Gilmore, Lucy Cragg, Sarah Clayton, Neil Marlow, Victoria Simms, Rebecca Spong, Samantha Johnson
Objective: To assess whether adolescents born very preterm (VP; <32 weeks’ gestation) have an excess of mathematics anxiety compared with their classmates born at term.
Methods: This cohort study included 127 adolescents born VP (51% male, mean age 13.9 years, SD 0.7) and 95 term-born classmates (56% male, mean age 13.7 years, SD 0.7) who completed the Wechsler Individual Achievement Test 2 nd UK Edition and the Mathematics Anxiety Scale-UK at age 11-15 years. Self-reported trait anxiety was assessed using a composite of three items from the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire.
Results: Adolescents born VP had significantly poorer mathematics attainment than adolescents born at term (difference in means: -0.64 SD; 95% CI -0.95, -0.34). However, there were no between-group differences in self-reported mathematics anxiety or trait anxiety. There were significant moderate associations between mathematics anxiety and mathematics attainment for adolescents born VP (rho: -.44) and at term (rho:-.52), after controlling for trait anxiety.
Conclusion: Adolescents born VP do not have heightened mathematics anxiety compared with their termborn classmates, despite poorer attainment in mathematics. Improving domain-general cognitive skills and scaffolding learning in the classroom may be more promising avenues for intervention than attempting to reduce mathematics anxiety

Funding

Action Medical Research (Ref: GN2311) project grant

History

School

  • Science

Department

  • Mathematics Education Centre

Published in

Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics

Publisher

Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publisher statement

This paper was accepted for publication in the journal Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics and the definitive published version is available at

Acceptance date

19/09/2020

ISSN

0196-206X

eISSN

1536-7312

Language

en

Depositor

Prof Camilla Gilmore. Deposit date: 24 September 2020

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