Dealing with Anxiety

It is not uncommon for students to experience negative arousal when doing academic work, particularly math.  Math anxiety refers to the discomfort and negative emotional state when doing math and research shows this anxiety affects academic performance (Hembree, 1990; Ma & Xu, 2004).  Research also indicates that undergraduate students with dyslexia report higher levels of math anxiety compared to students without dyslexia (Jordan, McGladdery & Dyer, 2014).  Math and statistics instructors who know effective anxiety reduction strategies are in a unique position to provide valuable support to students with anxiety.

The article, “Reducing the Impact of Statistics Anxiety in College Classrooms” by Kiss, Harari and Vukovic (2018) defines statistics anxiety and provides an overview of the research on strategies to combat it.  In addition, we have provided several links to research on math and statistics anxiety that we hope you will find helpful.



Hembree R. (1990). The nature, effects, and relief of mathematics anxietyJournal for Research in Mathematics Education, 21, 33–46. 10.2307/749455

Jordan, J., McGladdery, G., & Dyer, K. (2014). Dyslexia in higher education: Implications for maths anxiety, statistics anxiety and psychological well‐being. Dyslexia: An International Journal of Research and Practice20(3), 225-240. doi:10.1002/dys.1478

Ma X., Xu J. (2004). The causal ordering of mathematics anxiety and mathematics achievement: a longitudinal panel analysisJournal of Adolescence, 27, 165–179. 10.1016/j.adolescence.2003.11.003