Conceptualizing the factor structure of parents’ math anxiety and associations with children's mathematics skills

Jimena Cosso, Alexa Ellis, Connor D. O'Rear, Erica L. Zippert, Sara A. Schmitt, David J. Purpura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


There is a growing literature examining the association between parents’ math anxiety and children's mathematics skills. Previous research has considered parents’ math anxiety as a unidimensional construct that primarily focused on parents’ experiences doing mathematics themselves. However, this research did not account for parents’ experiences when doing mathematics with their children. Thus, there were two goals of the present study: (1) to identify the structure of parents’ math anxiety when considering context-dependent situations, and (2) to determine whether parental math anxiety was related to children's early numeracy skills. We conducted a series of confirmatory factor analyses using a sample of 155 preschool children (Mage = 4.20 years, SD = 0.71; 51% female). The best fitting model of parents’ math anxiety was a bifactor model, suggesting that parents’ math anxiety was best conceptualized as a multidimensional construct. However, structural equation models showed parent math anxiety was not a significant predictor of children's numeracy performance. These findings provide a foundation for understanding parents’ math anxiety as multidimensional and raise questions about potential mechanisms that may explain prior work finding mixed relations between math anxiety and children's numeracy performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-132
Number of pages14
JournalAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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