Gender Differences in Mathematics Anxiety Across Cultures: A Univariate Analysis of Variance Among Samples from Twelve Countries
Authors: Jacob Owusu Sarfo, Arturo García-Santillán, Henry Adusei, Violetta S. Molchanova, Marina Drushlyak, Olena Semenikhina, Philip Soyiri Donyeh, Somayeh Zand, Reza Najafi, Violeta Enea, Sadia Malik, Farzana Ashraf, Najma Iqbal Malik, Edward Wilson Ansah, Hattaphan Wongcharee, Felix O. Egara, Arun Tipandjan, Josephine Cudjoe, Uzma Azam, Mohammed Salah Hassan, Mai Helmy, Zahir Vally
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Mathematics anxiety (MA) has a debilitating impact on learning, achievement, mental health, and the future career life of students. Though MA is a popular research theme, there is little agreement among researchers regarding the cross-cultural effect of gender. The purpose of this paper was to explore the perceived MA differences among males and females across cultures using the Anxiety Towards Math Scale (ATMS; Muñoz and Mato, 2007). Data were collected between October 2019 and September 2020) from students (N = 4,340) in 12 countries. Using univariate analysis of variance, the results indicate that gender has a significant main effect on MA with females recording higher mean scores than males, [71.816 > 68.118]. Examining the interaction effect of gender and location, significant differences in MA scores exist between males and females across all locations except for Egypt, Malaysia, and Nigeria (Enugu State). Conversely, females reported significantly higher MA scores than males in the rest of the locations, except Iran (Tehran and Qom) and Pakistan (Faisalabad). Gender-based ranking of the top-three locations with high MA scores indicates that females, starting from Malaysia, Thailand (Bangkok), and Nigeria (Enugu State) ranked the highest. Similarly, males beginning from Malaysia, Nigeria (Enugu State), and Thailand (Bangkok) ranked the top-three in MA. The implications are that mathematics teachers need to adopt different culturally-appropriate and gender-focused interventions to support students with MA challenges. Though interpreting the results from this survey need to de done with caution due to the smaller community and national online samples, the role of cross-cultural gender differences in MA cannot be overlooked.