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Carvalho_et_al_Gentics_Math_Anxiety_AnnNYAcadSci_2022.pdf (767.46 kB)

MAOA-LPR polymorphism and math anxiety: A marker of genetic susceptibility to social influences in girls?

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posted on 2022-11-02, 09:39 authored by Maria Raquel Santos Carvalho, André Henrique Barbosa de Carvalho, Giulia Moreira Paiva, Carolina de Castro Andrade Jorge, Fernanda Caroline dos Santos, Gabriella Koltermann, Jerusa Fumagalli de Salles, Korbinian MoellerKorbinian Moeller, Guilherme Maia de Oliveira Wood, Vitor Geraldi Haase

Math anxiety (MA) seems to result from an interaction of genetic vulnerability with negative experiences learning mathematics. Although mathematics achievement does not substantially differ between the sexes, MA levels are usually higher in girls. Molecular genetic markers of MA vulnerability have been seldom explored. This article examines the contribution of the monoamine oxidase A gene (MAOA) to MA and to sex differences in MA. Five hundred and sixty-eight third to fifth graders were genotyped for the MAOA-LPR polymorphism (a repetitive element in MAOA promoter that has been associated with MAOA enzymatic activity), and assessed on general cognitive ability, mathematics achievement, and the cognitive and affective dimensions of MA. MAOA-LPR genotypes were classified as high (MAOA-H) or low (MAOA-L) according to their predicted enzymatic activity. Mixed models controlling for effects of school, sex, general cognitive ability, and mathematics achievement were evaluated. The best fitting model included school, math achievement, sex, MAOA-LPR, and the MAOA-LPR by sex interaction. This indicated that under the MAOA-H dominant model, anxiety toward mathematics interacted with the MAOA genotype: girls with an MAOA-L genotype exhibited higher levels of MA, with a small but significant effect. The association between MAOA-L genotype and MA in girls may represent an example of developmental plasticity. 


Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft. Grant Number: MO 2525/7-1

CAPES DAAD. Grant Number: 88887.143931/2017-00

Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico. Grant Number: 312068/2015-8

Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior

Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de Minas Gerais. Grant Numbers: APQ-01093-15, APQ-01377-17, APQ-02003-15, APQ-02755-SHA, APQ-02953-14, APQ-03289-10, APQ-03642-12



  • Science


  • Mathematics Education Centre

Published in

Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences






135 - 150




  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)

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© New York Academy of Sciences

Publisher statement

This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Carvalho, M. R. S., Barbosa de Carvalho, A. H., Paiva, G. M., Andrade Jorge, C. de. C., dos Santos, F. C., Koltermann, G., de Salles, J. F., Moeller, K., Maia de Oliveira Wood, G., & Haase, V. G. (2022). MAOA-LPR polymorphism and math anxiety: A marker of genetic susceptibility to social influences in girls? Ann NY Acad Sci., 1516, 135– 150. https://doi.org/10.1111/nyas.14814, which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1111/nyas.14814. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions. This article may not be enhanced, enriched or otherwise transformed into a derivative work, without express permission from Wiley or by statutory rights under applicable legislation. Copyright notices must not be removed, obscured or modified. The article must be linked to Wiley’s version of record on Wiley Online Library and any embedding, framing or otherwise making available the article or pages thereof by third parties from platforms, services and websites other than Wiley Online Library must be prohibited

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Prof Korbinian Moeller. Deposit date: 31 October 2022

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