The math-anxiety performance link: A global phenomenon

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Foley, A. E., Herts, J. B., Borgonovi, F., Guerriero, S., Levine, S. C., & Beilock, S. L. (2017). The math anxiety-performance link: A global phenomenon. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 26(1), 52–58.


Demand for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professionals is on the rise worldwide. To effectively meet this demand, many governments and private organizations have revamped STEM education and promoted training to enhance math and science skills among students and workers. Education and training programs typically focus on increasing individuals’ math and science knowledge. However, data from laboratory studies and large-scale international assessments suggest that fear or apprehension about math, math anxiety, should also be considered when trying to increase math achievement and, in turn, STEM career success. This article reviews findings that shed light on antecedents of math anxiety, the bidirectional math anxiety-performance relation, underlying mechanisms, and promising routes to mitigating the negative relation between math anxiety and math performance.