School of Education


Doctor of Education in Curriculum & Instruction (EdD)


Kurt Y. Michael


Math Anxiety, Expressive Writing, Working Memory, Gender, Adolescents




Math anxiety is a serious concern for educators and students. Students who may otherwise be successful can find themselves incapacitated to think and perform to their abilities due to this issue. Math anxiety negatively affects academic performance and deters students from pursuing math-based careers. This is particularly true for female students. Effective interventions are needed to address these issues. Expressive writing is one such intervention that has shown promise in reducing math anxiety with older students. This study investigated the impact of expressive writing on the math anxiety levels of middle school students according to group and gender. An experimental, pretest-posttest, control group design with random assignment was used for a sample of 40 students from a public middle school in East Texas. The Modified Abbreviated Math Anxiety Scale was administered as a pretest and posttest. Students were randomly placed into either the control or treatment group. Both groups completed journal entries each day. The treatment group also responded to a daily expressive writing prompt. The study was conducted over a two-week period. One-way ANCOVAs for data analysis found no significant differences according to group or gender. Results and their implications are discussed, and future research recommendations provided.

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