Parents’ Math Anxiety and Their Controlling and Autonomy-Supportive Involvement in Children’s Math Learning: Implications for Children’s Math Achievement

Dajung Diana Oh, Michael M. Barger, Eva M. Pomerantz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This research examined how parents’ math anxiety is associated with their controlling and autonomysupportive involvement in children’s math learning; the contribution of such involvement to children’s math achievement was also evaluated. Parents (N = 562; 62% White, 21% Black; 65% with at least a bachelor's degree) of young elementary school children (Mage = 7.48 years; 50% girls) reported on their math anxiety as well as controlling and autonomy-supportive involvement in children’s math learning; observations were also made. At the same time and a year later, children’s math achievement was assessed. Parents with higher math anxiety were more controlling (in both parents’ reports and the observations) and less autonomy supportive (only in the observations) with children who had poorer math achievement. Notably, controlling parenting (in both parents’ reports and the observations) was most likely to predict lower math achievement a year later among such children. The findings suggest math-anxious parents are prone to using practices with children struggling in math that further undermine their math achievement, which can create an unconstructive cycle for children’s math learning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalDevelopmental psychology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Keywords

  • Math achievement
  • Math anxiety
  • Parent involvement
  • Parenting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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