Når opfattelser skaber angst og angst skaber opfattelser - sammenhænge mellem matematikangst og beliefs om matematik med særlig fokus på køn

Research output: ThesisCandidatusResearch


In this thesis I study whether correlations between math anxiety and beliefs about mathematics can be observed, including the impact of gender. In the first part of the study I make a theoretical analysis based on a presentation of the three main concepts in the thesis: math anxiety, beliefs and gender. This analysis leads to three main arguments: 1. Beliefs about mathematics as a subject affect beliefs about the self; 2. Negative beliefs about the self indirectly affect beliefs about mathematics; 3. Stereotypes about mathematics and gender mainly affect girls' self-confidence. In relation to argument number 2, a model for Self-reinforcing effect of negative mathematics-related beliefs is presented.
The second part of the study consists of four semi-structured interviews with adults suffering from various degrees of math anxiety. In an interpretative analysis I uncover their beliefs about mathematics and the correlations between their beliefs and their negative relationship with mathematics. The empirical results are then compared with the three theory-based arguments presented in the first section.
Overall, this study indicates that especially a schema- and algorithm orientation towards mathematics increases the risk of negative beliefs about the self and thereby of developing math anxiety. In addition, negative beliefs appear to be self-reinforcing, as they can lead to altered learning behavior and resulting negative experiences. Gender stereotypes seems to affect both beliefs about the subject and the self, which is reflected in the interviewees' handling of their math difficulties. It appears that particularly a traditional teaching structure in mathematics education promotes gendered stereotypes about math, favors traditional masculine characteristics, and increases negative beliefs about mathematics. It is therefore recommended that this teaching structure is replaced by more progressive and process-oriented methods, and that the development of students' mathematics-related beliefs becomes an issue of priority in mathematics education.
Original languageDanish
Awarding Institution
  • Aarhus University
  • Lindenskov, Lena, Supervisor, External person
Award date27 Oct 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • learning, educational science and teaching

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