Date of Award

1984

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

School

School of Education

Program

Counseling Psychology, Ph.D.

First Advisor

Wilfred G. A. Futcher

Second Advisor

George H. Akers

Third Advisor

Eldon M. Chalmers

Abstract

Problem. One's choice of career has significant effect upon one's future life in terms of earning potential and social interaction. Mathematics/statistical anxiety and the mathematics avoidance often accompanying such anxiety, can influence career choice, causing otherwise talented people to limit their future. The purpose of this study was to determine from selected variables--particularly self-concept--which, if any, were related to the problem of mathematics and/or statistical anxiety.

Method. The statistical sample used was 350 juniors. Stratification was by degree of mathematics content in subject's major field of study. For the study, subjects had to be in the same major category as when they started college. Subjects completed four questionnaires: the Tennessee Self-Concept Scale, the Mathematics Anxiety Rating Scale, the Statistical Anxiety Rating Scale, and the Self-Evaluation Questionnaire. Subjects also completed a data sheet requesting date of birth, mathematics courses taken in high school, sex, and major. They also agreed to release their ACT or SAT mathematics score. A sample with thirty times as many subjects as variables ensured stability of the correlation matrix upon which all analyses were based. Product-moment correlation and stepwise regression analysis were used to test twenty-two hypotheses.

Results. Mathematics-test anxiety was positively related to statistical anxiety, number anxiety, major, state anxiety, and sex as a group of independent variables. Number anxiety was positively related to mathematics-test anxiety and statistical anxiety and negatively related to choice of major, as a group of independent variables. Statistical anxiety was positively related to trait anxiety, number anxiety, and mathematics-test anxiety and negatively related to mathematics background and choice of major as a group of independent variables.Self-concept was negatively related to state and trait anxiety as a group of independent variables.

Conclusions. Mathematics and statistical anxiety were significantly related to choice of major; self-concept was not, indicating that anxiety about mathematics and/or statistics is more important in choice of major than feelings about self. Mathematics and/or statistical anxiety related to every dependent variable for both sexes across every major category, indicating that anxiety related to mathematics plays a real role in the college junior's world.

Subject Area

Mathematics--Study and teaching (Higher), College students, Anxiety.

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