Maths anxiety is defined as feelings of tension that interfere with dealing with numbers and mathematical problems. Self-efficacy, which is related to maths anxiety, can be defined as perceptions of one's abilities to math problems, tasks and math-related course work. This study aimed to investigate the effect of gender, age and year level on maths anxiety and self-efficacy and to study the relationship between self-efficacy and maths anxiety among paramedic students.
A cross-sectional study of paramedic students at Monash University in Victoria was conducted. Participants completed a 15-minute paper-based questionnaire which is composed of Maths Anxiety Rating Scale – Revised (MARS-R),) the Maths Self-Efficacy Scale (MSES) and demographic information.
The questionnaires were completed and returned by 344 students. (81.3% return rate). The mean score for the MARS-R was 25.71 (SD=8.80) and for the MSES was 125.59 (SD=29.55). Females had higher maths anxiety levels (M=26.83, SD=9.00) than males (M=23.67, SD=8.26) and lower self-efficacy (M=119.59, SD=29.30) than males (M=135.73, SD=27.39). There was a significant negative relationship between MARS-R and MSES levels. Multiple linear regression indicated that maths self-efficacy (beta = -0.626, p<0.001) made the strongest contribution to maths anxiety levels.
There was a significant negative relationship between maths anxiety and self-efficacy levels reported by the paramedic student cohort. Gender plays an integral part in determining maths anxiety and self-efficacy level. To improve maths performance and reduce anxiety during calculation tasks, such as dose determinations, targeted education should be developed to improve maths self-efficacy.
Eaton G, Mahtani K, Catterall M. The evolving role of paramedics – a NICE problem to have? J Health Serv Res Policy 2018;23:193-5. doi: 10.1177/1355819618768357
Tavares W, Bowles R, Donelon B. Informing a Canadian paramedic profile: framing concepts, roles and crosscutting themes BMC Health Serv Res 2016;16. doi: 10.1186/s12913-016-1739-1
Caffey M, Crane, J. Paramedic student anxiety levels toward concepts in pharmacology at a regional university in Australia. Australasian Journal of Paramedicine 2016;13.
LeBlanc VR, MacDonald RD, McArthur B, King K, Lepine T. Paramedic performance in calculating drug dosages following stressful scenarios in a human patient simulator. Prehosp Emerg Care 2005;9:439-44.
Hodges WF. The psychophysiology of anxiety. In: Zuckerman M, Spielberger CD, eds. Emotions and anxiety (PLE: emotion): new concepts, methods, and applications. 1st edn. London: Psychology Press, 2015.
Richardson FC, Suinn RM. The mathematics rating scale; psychometric data. J Couns Psychol 1972;19:551-4. doi:10.1037/h0033456
Passolunghi MC, Caviola S, De Agostini R, Perin C, Mammarella IC. Mathematics anxiety, working memory, and mathematics performance in secondary school children. Front Psychol 2016;7:42. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00042
Lou X, Wang F, Lou Z. Investigation and analysis of mathematics anxiety in middle school students. J Math Educ 2009;12:12-9.
Sparks S. Brain imaging provides clues on math anxiety. Education Week 2011;31.
Rubinsten O, Tannock R. Mathematics anxiety in children with developmental dyscalculia. Behav Brain Funct 2010;6. doi: 10.1186/1744-9081-6-46
Finlayson M. Addressing math anxiety in the classroom. Improving Schools 2014;17:99-115. doi: 10.1177/1365480214521457
Lyons I, Beilock S. Numerical ordering ability mediates the relation between number-sense and arithmetic competence. Cognition 2011;121:256-61. doi: 10.1016/j.cognition.2011.07.009
Núñez-Peña MI, Guilera G, Suárez-Pellicioni M. The single-item math anxiety scale: an alternative way of measuring mathematical anxiety. J. Psychoeduc Assess 2014;32:306-17. doi: 10.1177/0734282913508528
Bandura A. Social foundations of thought and action: a social cognitive theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1986.
Han S, Liou-Mark J, Yu K, Zeng S. self-efficacy and attitudes towards mathematics of undergraduates: a US and Taiwan comparison. J Math Teach Educ 2015;8:1-15.
Ahmed W, Minnaert A, Kuyper H, Van der Werf G. Reciprocal relationships between math self-concept and math anxiety. Learn Individ Differ 2012;22:385-9. doi: 10.1016/j.lindif.2011.12.004
Akin A, Kurbanoğlu İ. The relationships between math anxiety, math attitudes, and self-efficacy: a structural equation model. Stud Psychol (Bratisl) 2011;53:263-73.
Wills H, Asbury E. The incidence of anxiety among paramedic students. Australasian Journal of Paramedicine 2019;16. doi: http://dx.org/10.33151/ajp.16.649
Betz N, Hackett G. Mathematics self-efficacy scale. Redwood City, CA: Mind Garden, 1993.
McMullan M, Jones R, Lea S. Math anxiety, self-efficacy, and ability in British undergraduate nursing students. Res Nurs Health 2012;35:178-86. doi: 10.1002/nur.21460
Alexander L, Martray CR. The development of an abbreviated version of the mathematics anxiety rating scale. Meas Eval Couns Dev 1989;22:143-50.
Hopko DR, McNeil DW, Lejuez CW, et al. The effects of anxious responding on mental arithmetic and lexical decision task performance. J Anxiety Disord 2003;17:647-65. doi: 10.1016/s0887-6185(02)00240-2
Suinn RM, Winston EH. The mathematics anxiety rating scale, a brief version: psychometric data. Psychol Rep 2003;92:167-73. doi: org/10.2466/pr0.2003.92.1.167
Cooper S, Robinson D. The relationship of mathematics self-efﬁcacy beliefs to mathematics anxiety and performance Meas Eval Couns Dev 1991;24:4-11.
Nielsen I, Moore K. Psychometric data on the mathematics self-efficacy scale. Educ Psychol Meas 2003;63:128-38.
Busch T. Gender differences in self‐efficacy and academic performance among students of business administration. Scand J Educ Res 1995;39:311-8. doi: 10.1080/0031383950390403
Ferla J, Martin V, Yonghong V. Academic self-efficacy and academic self-concept: reconsidering structural relationships. Learn Individ Differ 2009;19:499-505. doi: 10.1016/j.lindif.2009.05.004
Louis RA, Mistele JM. The differences in scores and self-efficacy by student gender in mathematics and science. Int J Sci Math Educ 2012;10. doi: 10.1007/s10763-011-9325-9
Paechter M, Macher D, Martskvishvili K, Wimmer S, Papousek I. Mathematics anxiety and statistics anxiety. Shared but also unshared components and antagonistic contributions to performance in statistics. Front Psychol 2017;8:1196. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01196
Alves M, Rodrigues CS, Rocha AM, Coutinho C. Self-efficacy, mathematics anxiety and perceived importance: an empirical study with Portuguese engineering students. European Journal of Engineering Education 2015;41:105-21. doi: 10.1080/03043797.2015.1095159
Ho H, Senturk D, Lam A, et al. The affective and cognitive dimensions of math anxiety: a cross-national study. J Res Math Educ 2000;31:362-79.
Hembree R. The nature, effects, and relief of mathematics anxiety. ibid. 1990;21:33-46. doi: 10.2307/749455
Zeidner M. Statistics and mathematics anxiety in social science students: some interesting parallels. Br J Educ Psychol 1991;61:319-28.
Dew KH, Galassi JP, Galassi MD. Math anxiety: relation with situational test anxiety, performance, physiological arousal, and math avoidance behavior. J Couns Psychol 1984;31:580-3. doi: 10.1037/0022-0184.108.40.2060
Warwick J. Mathematical self-efficacy and student engagement in the mathematics classroom. MSOR Connections 2008;8:31-7.
Nurwendah W, Suyanto S. Relationship among self-motivation, self-efficacy and achievement of high school student in biology. Journal of Physics Conference Series 2019;1233:012009. doi: 10.1088/1742-6596/1233/1/012009