The study of the phenomenon of math anxiety in foreign psychology



The article presents an overview of foreign studies on the phenomenon of mathematical anxiety. Unlike Russian psychology, where more general concepts are considered: school anxiety, learning anxiety, exam anxiety, foreign psychologists have developed a narrow concept of “mathematical anxiety” (math anxiety) since 1960s. The article discusses the content of this concept, the main directions of the research. This analysis of the academic literature reveals the main reasons for increasing the math anxiety of students: approaches to teaching mathematics, social attitudes and stereotypes, low socioeconomic status of the family. The data show a decrease in operative memory which results in declining effectiveness of performance tasks in teaching mathematics to students with high mathematical anxiety. The article also discusses practical recommendations for reducing math anxiety while teaching mathematical disciplines to schoolchildren and students which include both pedagogical techniques and special psychological techniques and trainings

General Information

Keywords: math anxiety, gender differences, working memory, math anxiety alleviation

Journal rubric: Educational Psychology and Pedagogical Psychology

Article type: review article


For citation: Adaskina A.A. The study of the phenomenon of math anxiety in foreign psychology [Elektronnyi resurs]. Sovremennaia zarubezhnaia psikhologiia = Journal of Modern Foreign Psychology, 2019. Vol. 8, no. 1, pp. 28–35. DOI: 10.17759/jmfp.2019080103. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Anna A. Adaskina, PhD in Psychology, Associate Professor, Chair of Educational Psychology named after prof. V.A. Guruzhapov, Moscow State University of Psychology and Education, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:



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