Investigating the relationship between mathematics anxiety, mathematical resilience and mathematics support engagement: an analysis of demographic and cohort factors

Farhana Gokhool, Duncan Lawson, Mark Hodds


Engagement with mathematics support has been of interest for several years, particularly because some students who may benefit from using support do not avail themselves of it. It has been suggested that these students may be those who are mathematics anxious; they may have had previous negative learning experiences with mathematics and thus demonstrate avoidance behaviours such as procrastination and not seeking help. In this paper, the results of mathematical resilience (MR) and anxiety questionnaires (MA) will be investigated. This investigation is conducted at the level of the whole cohort of students and also broken down by a range of demographic features. Consideration is also given to whether there is any relationship between student mathematics anxiety and resilience on the one hand and whether or not they engage with mathematics and statistics support services on the other.

The analysis reveals a weak negative correlation between MA and MR at whole cohort level. In terms of demographic characteristics, students on courses with no mathematics A-level entry requirement were significantly more mathematics anxious than those on courses with a mathematics A-level entry-requirement. They were also less mathematically resilient. Female students, non-Asian students, mature students and disabled students, on average, also had higher MA scores, whilst female students and mature students were also significantly less mathematically resilient.


maths anxiety; maths support; maths resilience; gender; ethnicity

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