Roots of Mathematics Anxiety in College Students

Stephanie Quan-Lorey


A majority of college students exhibit feelings of fear and discomfort when put into situations that require the use of mathematics. These students are characterized to be mathematics- anxious and tend to overlook the idea that one can gain many benefits from learning the subject. This paper investigates the various factors that have led to and influenced the feelings of mathematics anxiety in 13 undergraduate students pursuing non-mathematics-related majors. Through the use of questionnaires and interviews with each participant, the factors contributing to their mathematics anxiety were studied. Participants attributed teacher attitude, poor instruction, failure, and school tracking to initiating their mathematics anxieties. These findings revealed that the development of the participants’ feelings of anxiety toward mathematics was somehow rooted to an experience in school, which highly influenced their attitudes toward mathematics and shaped their self-perceptions of their mathematical abilities. 

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