Factors that Produce and Reduce Mathematics Anxiety as Perceived by Seventh Grade Females : A Qualitative Study

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


College of Science and Mathematics


Mathematical Sciences

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Kenneth C. Wolff

Committee Member

Juan-Miguel Fernández-Balboa

Committee Member

Anthony V. Piccolino

Committee Member

John A. Dossey


Mathematics anxiety can have a detrimental effect on middle school students, especially females. It often causes lower self-esteem and decline in mathematics achievement. The middle school years are a time when educators should more carefully address mathematics anxiety. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to explore the perceptions that seventh-grade mathematics anxious females have about the factors that cause and alleviate their mathematics anxiety.

The qualitative case study consisted of a series of interviews of 25 seventh grade females whose scores on the MARS-A survey indicated that they had mathematics anxiety. There were three in-depth, semi-structured group interviews. The first interview focused on the participants' life history of mathematics anxiety, the second interview focused on reconstructing the details of the participants' experiences with mathematics anxiety, and the third focused on encouraging the participants to reflect on the meaning of their experiences and ways their mathematics anxiety could be relieved.

Participants reported that mathematics began early and, for some, fluctuated over the years. They listed as the most influential factors for both producing and reducing mathematics anxiety as (1) teachers, (2) behavior of classmates, (3) classroom atmosphere, (4) mathematics curriculum, and (5) parents and siblings.


Print version available at Sprague Library.

Full text available at ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global

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