Mathematics anxiety in young children: Concurrent and longitudinal associations with mathematical performance

Rose K. Vukovic, Michael J. Kieffer, Sean P. Bailey, Rachel R. Harari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study explored mathematics anxiety in a longitudinal sample of 113 children followed from second to third grade. We examined how mathematics anxiety related to different types of mathematical performance concurrently and longitudinally and whether the relations between mathematics anxiety and mathematical performance differed as a function of working memory. Concurrent analyses indicated that mathematics anxiety represents a unique source of individual differences in children's calculation skills and mathematical applications, but not in children's geometric reasoning. Furthermore, we found that higher levels of mathematics anxiety in second grade predicted lower gains in children's mathematical applications between second and third grade, but only for children with higher levels of working memory. Overall, our results indicate that mathematics anxiety is an important construct to consider when examining sources of individual differences in young children's mathematical performance. Furthermore, our findings suggest that mathematics anxiety may affect how some children use working memory resources to learn mathematical applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalContemporary Educational Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2013


  • Early childhood
  • Mathematics achievement
  • Mathematics anxiety
  • Working memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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