Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Education and International Services


Educational Psychology, Ph.D.

First Advisor

Nadia Nosworthy

Second Advisor

Jimmy Kijai

Third Advisor

Elvin Gabriel



The problem addressed in this study is the anxiety experienced by graduate students toward statistics courses, which often causes students to delay taking statistics courses until the end of their program. Students believe that statistics courses are not essential and are the greatest obstacles to obtaining their degree. Previous theoretical models have focused on predicting student performance in statistics. However, this study aims to identify specific factors that could decrease student statistics anxiety and enhance positive attitudes and self-efficacy toward statistics. The study developed a conceptual model to predict statistics anxiety among graduate students in educational and social science majors in Saudi Arabia, which should improve the quality of statistics education in higher education.


A cross-sectional non-experimental survey design was employed to collect data during the Spring of 2022 from 356 graduate students in Saudi Arabia. Participants completed a self-report survey measuring their (a) demographic information, (b) statistics anxiety (SAS), (c) attitudes toward statistics (SATS), and (d) current statistics selfefficacy (CSSE). The dependent variable was statistics anxiety, while the independent variables were previous statistics experience, attitudes toward statistics, and statistics self-efficacy. Data analyses included descriptive statistics and structural equation modeling (SEM) to evaluate the relationship among the study variables, while a multigroup analysis was used to examine gender differences in the study model.


The study indicated that the participants reported a moderate level of statistics anxiety and positive attitudes toward statistics, and a low to moderate level of statistics self-efficacy. Results also found that attitudes toward statistics were negatively associated with statistics anxiety, but previous statistics experience positively predicted attitudes toward statistics and current statistics self-efficacy. Mediation analysis revealed that attitudes toward statistics significantly mediated the relationship between previous statistics experience and statistics anxiety. A multi-group analysis showed that the research model was equally applicable to males and females and no significant gender differences were observed at the individual path level.


The present study investigated the relationship among previous statistics experience, attitudes toward statistics, statistics self-efficacy, and statistics anxiety among graduate students in Saudi Arabia. The findings suggest that positive previous statistics experience and attitudes toward statistics can account for reducing students’ statistics anxiety. Results have important implications for educators and counselors who work with students experiencing statistics anxiety, such as promising positive attitudes toward statistics and enhancing students’ experience with mathematics and statistics.

Subject Area

Anxiety; Graduate students--Saudi Arabia; Saudi Arabia--Education