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      Intergenerational Effects of Parents' Math Anxiety on Children's Math Achievement and Anxiety.

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          Abstract

          A large field study of children in first and second grade explored how parents' anxiety about math relates to their children's math achievement. The goal of the study was to better understand why some students perform worse in math than others. We tested whether parents' math anxiety predicts their children's math achievement across the school year. We found that when parents are more math anxious, their children learn significantly less math over the school year and have more math anxiety by the school year's end-but only if math-anxious parents report providing frequent help with math homework. Notably, when parents reported helping with math homework less often, children's math achievement and attitudes were not related to parents' math anxiety. Parents' math anxiety did not predict children's reading achievement, which suggests that the effects of parents' math anxiety are specific to children's math achievement. These findings provide evidence of a mechanism for intergenerational transmission of low math achievement and high math anxiety.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          Psychol Sci
          Psychological science
          1467-9280
          0956-7976
          Sep 2015
          : 26
          : 9
          Affiliations
          [1 ] University of Chicago erinmaloney@uchicago.edu Beilock@uchicago.edu.
          [2 ] University of California, Los Angeles.
          [3 ] Temple University.
          [4 ] University of Chicago.
          Article
          0956797615592630
          10.1177/0956797615592630
          26253552
          © The Author(s) 2015.

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