Send to

Choose Destination
Psychol Sci. 2015 Sep;26(9):1480-8. doi: 10.1177/0956797615592630. Epub 2015 Aug 7.

Intergenerational Effects of Parents' Math Anxiety on Children's Math Achievement and Anxiety.

Author information

University of Chicago
University of California, Los Angeles.
Temple University.
University of Chicago.


A large field study of children in first and second grade explored how parents' anxiety about math relates to their children's math achievement. The goal of the study was to better understand why some students perform worse in math than others. We tested whether parents' math anxiety predicts their children's math achievement across the school year. We found that when parents are more math anxious, their children learn significantly less math over the school year and have more math anxiety by the school year's end-but only if math-anxious parents report providing frequent help with math homework. Notably, when parents reported helping with math homework less often, children's math achievement and attitudes were not related to parents' math anxiety. Parents' math anxiety did not predict children's reading achievement, which suggests that the effects of parents' math anxiety are specific to children's math achievement. These findings provide evidence of a mechanism for intergenerational transmission of low math achievement and high math anxiety.


academic achievement; cognitive development; educational psychology; emotional development; mathematics achievement

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon
Loading ...
Support Center