Gender Influences Stats Anxiety

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Gender differences in Statistical Anxiety

Abstract:
The aim of my experiment was to look at the association between Gender (male and female) and Statistical Anxiety (high or low) and see if there was a significant relationship between the two. My hypothesis stated that more females would have high statistical anxiety than males. 100participants completed a self-report questionnaire, administered by Graham Hole. Questions were asked on aspects such as studying maths A-Level, their grade, and GSCE grades. The results showed that both male and female experienced high levels of anxiety, but there was no significance in the relationship between males and females. 42.1% of males gave a high rating (5,6 or 7) on a 7point rating scale for statistical anxiety, when compared with females 45.0% gave a high rating. It rejects the hypothesis that females have higher statistics anxiety than males where as some previous research contradicts this evidence.

Introduction:

The aim of my experiment is to look at the difference in gender (male and female) and compare their statistical anxiety to see if there is a significant difference between the two sexes. Gender difference is the most studied environmental cause of statistical anxiety but the findings are infamously inconsistent.

Statistical anxiety is a state of discomfort that is associated with performance in a mathematical task, and is thought to affect a high percentage of school age children. There are many factors that have been associated with statistical anxiety, but potential factors include environmental variables e.g. negative class experience, intellectual variables such as the degree of abstract or logical thinking and personality variables including self esteem, learning style and confidence.

Some research states that statistical anxiety inhibits performance and that girls report higher levels of anxiety than boys, contradicting research also suggests that boy’s mathematical performance is more negatively affected by anxiety than females.

Flessati and Jamieson’s study showed that there were no gender differences in mathematical performance but higher mathematical and test anxiety were shown in girls at 433 British secondary schools. When controlling for test anxiety, the correlation between maths anxiety and performance remained only for females. Results showed that maths anxiety is only a significant predictor of performance for girls but not for boys. This could suggest that females have potential to perform better in mathematics but statistical anxiety inhibits them.

Previous research that has looked at the differences between male and female statistical anxiety and the results proved ambiguous. Hunsley and Flessati speculate women have less mathematical experience they therefore have more mathematical anxiety than men (1988).

Cruise and Wilkins (1980) states that there was no significant difference between Gender and statistics, their experiment was administered to 201 college students in China to measure their level of statistic anxiety, similar studies also were done in the United States and United Kingdom.

Royse and Rompf states that women found quantitative areas of mathematics more difficult than men (1992).

Females show significantly higher mathematical test anxiety, male students show significantly higher course anxiety (Baloglu, 2001). This shows that evaluative situations arouse more anxiety in men than women. When looking at an integrated analysis of 151 studies, we learn that mathematics anxiety is related to poor performance on mathematical tests. It is inversely related to a positive attitude towards maths, and is directly correlated with dislike of the subject. Hembree (1990) states that mathematic anxiety linked with poor performance is shown more in males rather than females before they have been to college.

Many other researchers failed to confirm significant gender differences and therefore difficult to find...
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