**meta-study of approximately 150 papers, with a combined total of about 25,000 subjects**. (Note the high sample size makes almost all findings significant at the p < 0.01 level). Math anxiety is known to be negatively correlated with performance in math (tests, etc.), and more common among women than men.

Math anxiety is somewhat correlated with a constellation of other general anxieties (r² = 0.12 to 0.27). Work to enhance math competence did not reduce anxiety.

**Whole-group interventions are not effective**(curricular changes, classroom pedagogy structure, in-class psychological treatments). The

**only thing that is effective is out-of-classroom, one-on-one treatments**(behavioral systematic desensitization; cognitive restructuring); these have a marked effect at both lowering anxiety and boosting actual math-test performance.

In short:

**Addressing math anxiety is largely out of the hands of the classroom teacher**. Unless the student has access, or the institution provides access, to one-on-one behavioral desensitization therapy, no group-level interventions are found to be effective.

Also recall that

**elementary education majors have the highest math anxiety**, and the lowest math performance, of all U.S. college majors. (It seems possible that some entrants choose elementary education as a career path precisely

*because*they are bad at math and see that as one of their limited options; I know I've had at least one such student say something to that effect to me.) This clearly dovetails with Sian Beilock's 2009 finding that

**math-anxious female elementary teachers model math-anxiety particularly to their female students**, who imitate the same and wind up with

**worse math performance and attitudes by the end of the year**(link). And this general trend of weak education majors has

**been the case in the U.S. for at least a century now**(link).

So we might hypothesize:

**A feedback loop exists between poor early math education, heightened math anxiety among female students, and those same students returning to early childhood education as a career.**

See below for Hembree's table of math anxiety by class and major (p. 41); note that

**elementary education majors**, and those taking the standard "math for elementary teachers" (frequently the

*only*math class such teachers take), are

**significantly worse off than anyone else**:

Hembree, Ray. "The nature, effects, and relief of mathematics anxiety."

*Journal for research in mathematics education*(1990): 33-46. (Link)
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