Previous research of math anxiety (MA) was largely concerned with the population of high school students. Although there are findings on the existence of MA at early primary school age, a very small number of questionnaires or scales, which have been validated in several cultures and can be used in research with children of this age, have been detected in the literature. The aim of this research was the psychometric evaluation and short validation of Modified Abbreviated Math Anxiety Scale (mAMAS) for children in Serbia. The study was conducted on a sample of 301 early elementary school students from Serbia (mean age 8.79 years). The results of the research indicate a 2-factor solution of this scale. Both components, Math Evaluation Anxiety and Math Learning Anxiety, have satisfactory reliability coefficients and negative relations with math grades. Additionally, there were no detected gender differences on these measures. IRT analysis indicates that both components show satisfactory psychometric properties and all of the items show significant contributions to their respective scales. Both scales exhibit similar properties in that they offer precise discrimination of respondents with average and higher MA levels, which is encouraging as the scale could be used as a screening tool for children who experience problems with MA.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
95% confidence intervals (CI) based on 1000 bootstrap samples.
Aarnos, E., & Perkkilä, P. (2012). Early signs of mathematics anxiety? Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 46, 1495–1499. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2012.05.328.
Ashcraft, M. H. (2002). Math anxiety: Personal, educational, and cognitive consequences. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 11(5), 181–185. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-8721.00196.
Beilock, S. L., Gunderson, E. A., Ramirez, G., & Levine, S. C. (2010). Female teachers’ math anxiety affects girls’ math achievement. Proceedings of the National Academies of Science of the United States of America, 107, 1860–1863. https://doi.org/10.1037/e634112013-097.
Bieg, M., Goetz, T., Wolter, I., & Hall, N. C. (2015). Gender stereotype endorsement differentially predicts girls’ and boys’ trait-state discrepancy in math anxiety. Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 1404. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01404.
Bentler, P. M., & Bonett, D. G. (1980). Significance tests and goodness of fit in the analysis of covariance structures. Psychological Bulletin, 88(3), 588–606. https://doi.org/10.1037//0033-2909.88.3.588.
Brown, T. A. (2006). Confirmatory factor analysis for applied research. New York, NY: Guilford Press.
Campbell, S. R. (2011). Educational neuroscience: Motivations, methodology, and implications. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 43(1), 7–16. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-5812.2010.00701.x.
Carey, E., Hill, F., Devine, A., & Szűcs, D. (2017). The modified Abbreviated Math Anxiety Scale: a valid and reliable instrument for use with children. Frontiers in Psychology, 8, 11. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00011.
Cargnelutti, E., Tomasetto, C., & Passolunghi, M. C. (2017). How is anxiety related to math performance in young students? A longitudinal study of grade 2 to grade 3 children. Cognition and Emotion, 31(4), 755–764. https://doi.org/10.1080/02699931.2016.1147421.
Cipora, K., Szczygieł, M., Willmes, K., & Nuerk, H. C. (2015). Math anxiety assessment with the abbreviated math anxiety scale: Applicability and usefulness: Insights from the polish adaptation. Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 1833. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01833.
Devine, A., Fawcett, K., Szűcs, D., & Dowker, A. (2012). Gender differences in mathematics anxiety and the relation to mathematics performance while controlling for test anxiety. Behavioral and Brain Functions, 8(1), 33. https://doi.org/10.1186/1744-9081-8-33.
Dowker, A., Bennett, K., & Smith, L. (2012). Attitudes to mathematics in primary school children. Child Development Research, 2012, 8. https://doi.org/10.1155/2012/124939.
Dowker, A., Sarkar, A., & Looi, C. Y. (2016). Mathematics anxiety: What have we learned in 60 years? Frontiers in psychology, 7, 508. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00508.
Embertson, S. E., & Reise, S. P. (2000). Item response theory for psychologists. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Erdogan, A., & Kesici, S. (2010). Mathematics anxiety according to middle school students’ achievement motivation and social comparison. Education, 131(1), 54–63.
Faradiba, S. S., Sadijah, C., & Rahardjo, S. (2016). Identification of math anxiety through gesture. In S. T. Kurniawaty, M. Syafiq, & L. Sa’adah (Eds.), Education in the 21th century: Responding to current issues (pp. 881–889). Malang: Graduate School, Universitas Negeri Malang. http://pasca.um.ac.id/conferences/index.php/ice/article/view/119/131.
Foley, A. E., Herts, J. B., Borgonovi, F., Guerriero, S., Levine, S. C., & Beilock, S. L. (2017). The math anxiety-performance link: A global phenomenon. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 26(1), 52–58. https://doi.org/10.1177/0963721416672463.
Ganley, C. M., & McGraw, A. L. (2016). The development and validation of a revised version of the math anxiety scale for young children. Frontiers in Psychology, 7, 1181. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01181.
Hammond, S. M. (1995). An IRT investigation of the validity of non-patient analogue research using the Beck Depression Inventory. European Journal of Psychological Assessment, 11(1), 14–20. https://doi.org/10.1027/1015-5718.104.22.168.
Harari, R. R., Vukovic, R. K., & Bailey, S. P. (2013). Mathematics anxiety in young children: An exploratory study. The Journal of Experimental Education, 81(4), 538–555. https://doi.org/10.1080/00220973.2012.727888.
Hembree, R. (1990). The nature, effects, and relief of mathematics anxiety. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 21(1), 33–46. https://doi.org/10.2307/749455.
Henson, R. K. (2001). Understanding internal consistency reliability estimates: A conceptual primer on coefficient alpha. Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling and Development, 34(3), 177–189.
Hill, F., Mammarella, I. C., Devine, A., Caviola, S., Passolunghi, M. C., & Szűcs, D. (2016). Maths anxiety in primary and secondary school students: Gender differences, developmental changes and anxiety specificity. Learning and Individual Differences, 48, 45–53. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lindif.2016.02.006.
Hopko, D. R., Mahadevan, R., Bare, R. L., & Hunt, M. K. (2003). The Abbreviated Math Anxiety Scale (AMAS) construction, validity, and reliability. Assessment, 10(2), 178–182. https://doi.org/10.1177/1073191103010002008.
Hu, L., & Bentler, P. M. (1999). Cutoff criteria for fit indexes in covariance structure analysis: Conventional criteria versus new alternatives. Structural Equation Modeling: A Multidisciplinary Journal, 6(1), 1–55. https://doi.org/10.1080/10705519909540118.
Jameson, M. M. (2013). The development and validation of the Children’s Anxiety in Math Scale. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment, 31(4), 391–395. https://doi.org/10.1177/0734282912470131.
Jameson, M. M. (2014). Contextual factors related to math anxiety in second-grade children. The Journal of Experimental Education, 82(4), 518–536. https://doi.org/10.1080/00220973.2013.813367.
Jansen, B. R., Louwerse, J., Straatemeier, M., Van der Ven, S. H., Klinkenberg, S., & Van der Maas, H. L. (2013). The influence of experiencing success in math on math anxiety, perceived math competence, and math performance. Learning and Individual Differences, 24, 190–197. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lindif.2012.12.014.
Johnson, S. R., Finlon, K. J., & Izard, C. E. (2016). The development and validation of the behavior and emotion expression observation system to characterize preschoolers’ social and emotional interactions. Early Education and Development, 27(7), 896–913. https://doi.org/10.1080/10409289.2016.1175241.
Justicia-Galiano, M. J., Martín-Puga, M. E., Linares, R., & Pelegrina, S. (2017). Math anxiety and math performance in children: The mediating roles of working memory and math self-concept. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 87(4), 573–589. https://doi.org/10.1111/bjep.12165.
Krinzinger, H., Kaufmann, L., & Willmes, K. (2009). Math anxiety and math ability in early primary school years. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment, 27(3), 206–225. https://doi.org/10.1177/0734282908330583.
Labella, M. H., Narayan, A. J., McCormick, C. M., Desjardins, C. D., & Masten, A. S. (2019). Risk and adversity, parenting quality, and children’s social–emotional adjustment in families experiencing homelessness. Child Development, 90(1), 227–244. https://doi.org/10.1111/cdev.12894.
Lukowski, S. L., DiTrapani, J., Jeon, M., Wang, Z., Schenker, V. J., Doran, M. M., . . . Petrill, S. A. (2019). Multidimensionality in the measurement of math-specific anxiety and its relationship with mathematical performance. Learning and Individual Differences, 70, 228–235. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lindif.2016.07.007.
Luttenberger, S., Wimmer, S., & Paechter, M. (2018). Spotlight on math anxiety. Psychology Research and Behavior Management, 11, 311–322. https://doi.org/10.2147/prbm.s141421.
Ma, X., & Kishor, N. (1997). Assessing the relationship between attitude toward mathematics and achievement in mathematics: A meta-analysis. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 28(1), 26–47. https://doi.org/10.2307/749662.
Ma, X., & Xu, J. (2004). The causal ordering of mathematics anxiety and mathematics achievement: A longitudinal panel analysis. Journal of Adolescence, 27(2), 165–179. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.adolescence.2003.11.003.
Mazzocco, M. M., & Myers, G. F. (2003). Complexities in identifying and defining mathematics learning disability in the primary school-age years. Annals of Dyslexia, 53(1), 218–253. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11881-003-0011-7.
Milovanović, I. (2018). Matematička anksioznost i postignuće na ranom osnovnoškolskom uzrastu: uloga uključenosti roditelja u podučavanje [Math anxiety and achievement at early elementary stage: The role of parental involvement in teaching]. Godišnjak Filozofskog fakulteta u Novom Sadu, 43(1), 271-287. https://doi.org/10.19090/gff.2018.1.271-287.
Milovanović, I., & Kodžopeljić, J. (2018). Faktorska struktura i konvergentna validnost upitnika matematičke anksioznosti za učenike srednjih škola [Factor structure and convergent validity of math anxiety questionnaire for high school students]. Nastava i Vaspitanje, 67(1), 113–128. https://doi.org/10.5937/nasvas1801113M.
Ng, E., & Lee, K. (2015). Effects of trait test anxiety and state anxiety on children’s working memory task performance. Learning and Individual Differences, 40, 141–148. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lindif.2015.04.007.
Novack, M. A., Wakefield, E. M., Congdon, E. L., Franconeri, S., & Goldin-Meadow, S. (2016). There is more to gesture than meets the eye: Visual attention to gesture’s referents cannot account for its facilitative effects during math instruction. In D. C. Noelle, R. Dale, A. S. Warlaumont, J. Yoshimi, T. Matlock, C. D. Jennings, & P. P. Maglio (Eds.), Proceedings of the 37th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 2141–2146). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.
Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. (2016). Education at a glance 2016: OECD indicators. Paris, OECD Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1787/eag-2016-en.
Pappas, M. A., Polychroni, F., & Drigas, A. S. (2019). Assessment of mathematics difficulties for second and third graders: Cognitive and psychological parameters. Behavioral Sciences, 9(7), 76. https://doi.org/10.3390/bs9070076.
Passolunghi, M. C., Caviola, S., De Agostini, R., Perin, C., & Mammarella, I. C. (2016). Mathematics anxiety, working memory, and mathematics performance in secondary-school children. Frontiers in Psychology, 7, Article 42. doi:https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00042.
Peixoto, F., Sanches, C., Mata, L., & Monteiro, V. (2017). “How do you feel about math?”: Relationships between competence and value appraisals, achievement emotions and academic achievement. European Journal of Psychology of Education, 32(3), 385–405. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10212-016-0299-4.
Peper, E., Harvey, R., Mason, L., & Lin, I. M. (2018). Do better in math: How your body posture may change stereotype threat response. NeuroRegulation, 5(2), 67-74. Doi:https://doi.org/10.15540/nr.5.2.67.
Primi, C., Busdraghi, C., Tomasetto, C., Morsanyi, K., & Chiesi, F. (2014). Measuring math anxiety in Italian college and high school students: Validity, reliability and gender invariance of the Abbreviated Math Anxiety Scale (AMAS). Learning and Individual Differences, 34, 51–56. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lindif.2014.05.012.
Punaro, L., & Reeve, R. (2012). Relationships between 9-year-olds’ math and literacy worries and academic abilities. Child Development Research, 2012, 11. https://doi.org/10.1155/2012/359089.
Radišić, J., Videnović, M., & Baucal, A. (2015). Math anxiety—contributing school and individual level factors. European Journal of Psychology of Education, 30(1), 1–20. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10212-014-0224-7.
Radišić, J., Videnović, M., & Baucal, A. (2018). Distinguishing successful students in mathematics: A comparison across European countries. Psihologija, 51(1), 69–89. https://doi.org/10.2298/psi170522019r.
Ramirez, G., Chang, H., Maloney, E. A., Levine, S. C., & Beilock, S. L. (2016). On the relationship between math anxiety and math achievement in early elementary school: The role of problem solving strategies. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 141, 83–100. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jecp.2015.07.014.
Ramirez, G., Gunderson, E. A., Levine, S. C., & Beilock, S. L. (2013). Math anxiety, working memory, and math achievement in early elementary school. Journal of Cognition and Development, 14(2), 187–202. https://doi.org/10.1080/15248372.2012.664593.
Richardson, F. C., & Suinn, R. M. (1972). The Mathematics Anxiety Rating Scale. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 19(6), 551–554. https://doi.org/10.1037/h0033456.
Rizopoulos, D. (2018). ltm: Latent Trait Models Under IRT (Version 1.1-1). Retrieved from https://CRAN.R-project.org/package=ltm
Rosseel, Y., Oberski, D., Byrnes, J., Vanbrabant, L., Savalei, V., Merkle, E., … & Jorgensen, T. D. (2018). lavaan: Latent Variable Analysis (Version 0.6–2). Retrieved from https://CRAN.R-project.org/package=lavaan
Sadiković, S., Milovanović, I., & Oljača, M. (2018). Another psychometric proof of the abbreviated math anxiety scale usefulness: IRT analysis. Primenjena Psihologija, 11(3), 301–323. https://doi.org/10.19090/pp.2018.3.301-323.
Samejima, F. (1969). Estimation of latent ability using a response pattern of graded scores. Psychometrika Monograph Supplement, 34(S1), 1–97. https://doi.org/10.1007/bf03372160.
Schillinger, F. L., Vogel, S. E., Diedrich, J., & Grabner, R. H. (2018). Math anxiety, intelligence, and performance in mathematics: Insights from the German adaptation of the Abbreviated Math Anxiety Scale (AMAS-G). Learning and Individual Differences, 61, 109–119. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lindif.2017.11.014.
Sokolowski, H. M., & Ansari, D. (2017). Who is afraid of math? What is math anxiety? And what can you do about it? Frontiers for Young Minds, 5, Article 57. https://doi.org/10.3389/frym.2017.00057.
Swetman, D. L. (1994). Fourth grade math: The beginning of the end? Reading Improvement, 31(3), 173–176.
Tabachnick, B. G., & Fidell, L. S. (2013). Using multivariate statistics (6th edition). Boston: Pearson.
Tankersley, K. (1993). Teaching math their way. Educational Leadership, 50(8), 12–13.
Vahedi, S., & Farrokhi, F. (2011). A confirmatory factor analysis of the structure of abbreviated math anxiety scale. Iranian Journal of Psychiatry, 6(2), 47–53.
Van de Vijver, F., & Tanzer, N. K. (2004). Bias and equivalence in cross-cultural assessment: An overview. Revue Européenne de Psychologie Appliquée/European Review of Applied Psychology, 54(2), 119–135. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.erap.2003.12.004.
Ventuneac, A., Rendina, H. J., Grov, C., Mustanski, B., & Parsons, J. T. (2015). An item response theory analysis of the Sexual Compulsivity Scale and its correspondence with the Hypersexual Disorder Screening Inventory among a sample of highly sexually active gay and bisexual men. The Journal of Sexual Medicine, 12(2), 481–493. https://doi.org/10.1111/jsm.12783.
Wang, Z., Hart, S. A., Kovas, Y., Lukowski, S., Soden, B., Thompson, L. A., . . . Petrill, S. A. (2014). Who is afraid of math? Two sources of genetic variance for mathematical anxiety. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 55(9), 1056–1064. https://doi.org/10.1111/jcpp.12224.
Wigfield, A., Eccles, J. S., Yoon, K. S., Harold, R. D., Arbreton, A., Freedman-Doan, K., & Blumenfeld, P. C. (1997). Changes in children’s competence beliefs and subjective task values across the elementary school years: A three-year study. Journal of Educational Psychology, 89, 451-469. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-0622.214.171.1241.
Wigfield, A., & Meece, J. L. (1988). Math anxiety in elementary and secondary school students. Journal of Educational Psychology, 80(2), 210–216. https://doi.org/10.1037//0022-06126.96.36.199.
Wu, S., Amin, H., Barth, M., Malcarne, V., & Menon, V. (2012). Math anxiety in second and third graders and its relation to mathematics achievement. Frontiers in Psychology, 3, 162. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00162.
Wu, S. S., Willcutt, E. G., Escovar, E., & Menon, V. (2014). Mathematics achievement and anxiety and their relation to internalizing and externalizing behaviors. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 47(6), 503–514. https://doi.org/10.1177/0022219412473154.
Young, C. B., Wu, S. S., & Menon, V. (2012). The neurodevelopmental basis of math anxiety. Psychological Science, 23(5), 492–501. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797611429134.
Zeman, J. L., Cassano, M., Suveg, C., & Shipman, K. (2009). Initial validation of the children’s worry management scale. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 19(4), 381–392. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-009-9308-4.
The authors would like to thank Jasna Milošević for the help with English translation.
The authors disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: this work was partially supported by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development of the Republic of Serbia, Grant No. ON17900.
Appendix A. Modified Abbreviated Math Anxiety Scale (mAMAS) for Children—Serbian Translation (Left) and Original Items (Right)
|Koliko si nervozan/na kada...||How nervous are you when …|
|moraš da vežbaš zadatke iz radnog lista?||Having to complete a work sheet by yourself.|
|razmišljaš o kontrolnom zadatku iz matematike?||Thinking about a maths test the day before you take it.|
|posmatraš kako učitelj rešava zadatke iz matematike na tabli?||Watching the teacher work out a maths problem on the board.|
|radiš kontrolni iz matematike?||Taking a maths test.|
|moraš da uradiš težak domaći zadatak iz matematike?||Being given maths homework with lots of difficult questions that you have to hand in the next day.|
|slušaš učitelja kako objašnjava matematiku na času?||Listening to the teacher talk for a long time in maths.|
|slušaš druga kako objašnjava neki zadatak iz matematike?||Listening to another child in your class explain a maths problem.|
|učitelj organizuje iznenadni kviz na početku časa matematike?||Finding out that you are going to have a surprise maths quiz when you start your maths lesson.|
|počneš da učiš novu lekciju na času matematike?||Starting a new topic in maths.|
About this article
Cite this article
Milovanović, I., Branovački, B. Adaptation and Psychometric Evaluation of Modified Abbreviated Math Anxiety Scale for Children in Serbia. Int J of Sci and Math Educ 19, 579–598 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10763-020-10066-w
- Math anxiety
- IRT analysis
- Psychometric evaluation
- Early elementary school children