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Gender differences in math anxiety

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Title: Gender differences in math anxiety
Author(s): Kuoppalaakso, Timo
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences
Degree program: Master 's Programme in Neuroscience
Specialisation: Subject teacher in Biology
Language: English
Acceptance year: 2023
Women have exhibited higher levels of math anxiety (MA) compared to men. Despite the relationship between MA and sex differences being topic of interest for over twenty years, the focal point has mostly been on the psychological causes. This review investigates the biological underpinnings of the social phobia and identifies numerous possible correlates which could inform future efforts to support students experiencing math anxiety and encourage more females to pursue STEM related careers. Articles that investigated sex differences in the context of MA were selected for the study using PRISMA guidelines. Females were found to experience higher levels of math anxiety compared to males. Age was shown to influence the prevalence of MA between sexes, with sex differences in MA being more infrequent in children and increasing towards adulthood. The findings suggest that a diverse set of biological sex differences related to to brain function, cognition and sex hormones can, in part, explain the higher prevalence of MA among females and age-related deviations. By shedding light on possible biological factors contributing to sex differences in MA, this review represents a valuable step toward a more comprehensive understanding of this complex issue.
Keyword(s): math anxiety gender differences

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