Math Anxiety in Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Hearing Students: Antecedents and Outcomes
Math anxiety, or the feeling of apprehension in the face of math, impedes success in the subject. A global problem affecting all age groups, math anxiety can cause short-term distress and long-term avoidance of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers. Math anxiety may be an underlying reason that deaf and hard of hearing individuals are significantly underrepresented in the STEM workforce. This study aims to understand the development and consequences of math anxiety in deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing university students via an online questionnaire. One hundred thirty-six deaf and hard of hearing students and 162 hearing students (total n=298) reported their math anxiety levels, general anxiety levels, perceptions about STEM, career aspirations and other factors (e.g., parents’ attitudes towards math, school experience, hearing status, etc.). The study first aimed to evaluate which factors predict math anxiety. Using a multiple linear regression, we found that age, hearing status, school environment and parental attitudes about math were all significant predictors of math anxiety. We then asked whether these same factors, along with parental involvement in STEM, influenced the likelihood of students’ majoring in STEM. A logistic regression found that only age and parental involvement in STEM were significant predictors of majoring in STEM fields. This paper hopes to discern the antecedents of math anxiety in an attempt to close the existing gap between deaf and hard of hearing individuals relative to hearing individuals in STEM fields.