Sarah Caviola (Leeds)

Title: Protective and risk factors in mathematical learning: Individual resources and anxiety forms

Abstract: Maths success is an essential aspect of school life for children. Not only cognitive processes, such as working memory or general cognitive skills, but also emotional factors are involved in mathematical learning. A large body of research is offering an increasing number of examples of how negative feelings towards maths (i.e. math anxiety - MA) can deeply interfere with a successful mathematical learning/achievement.

Across multiple studies, we explored the reciprocal influence among cognitive and emotional factors in primary and secondary school students. In particular, we investigated the relationship among mathematics performances, different forms of anxiety (i.e., general - test - and math - anxiety) and individual resources (i.e., ego - resilience). Latent profile analysis indicated that different forms of anxiety start to differentiate between 3rd and 6th grade, highlighting how general anxiety seemed to act as a risk factor for the onset of more specific forms of anxiety. Concerning the role of personal protective factors, structural equation models showed that MA and ego-resilience have an important (and opposite) contribution to mathematics performance. Our findings point to the importance of investigating the reciprocal relationship between mathematics performance and both positive and negative emotional factors.

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