Abstract
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' selfconfidence. In relation to argument number 2, a model for Selfreinforcing effect of negative mathematicsrelated beliefs is presented.
The second part of the study consists of four semistructured 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 theorybased 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 selfreinforcing, 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 processoriented methods, and that the development of students' mathematicsrelated beliefs becomes an issue of priority in mathematics education.
The second part of the study consists of four semistructured 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 theorybased 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 selfreinforcing, 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 processoriented methods, and that the development of students' mathematicsrelated beliefs becomes an issue of priority in mathematics education.
Original language  Danish 

Awarding Institution 

Supervisors/Advisors 

Award date  27 Oct 2016 
Publication status  Published  2016 
Externally published  Yes 
Keywords
 learning, educational science and teaching