Advertisement

Girls and mathematics —A “hopeless” issue? A control-value approach to gender differences in emotions towards mathematics

  • Anne C. Frenzel
  • Reinhard Pekrun
  • Thomas Goetz
Article

Abstract

This study analyzed gender differences in achievement emotions in the domain of mathematics. Based on Pekrun’s (2000, 2006) controlvalue theory of achievement emotions, we hypothesized that there are gender differences in mathematics emotions due to the students’ different levels of control and value beliefs in mathematics, even when controlling for prior achievement. The structural relationships between prior achievement, control and value beliefs, and emotions were assumed to be invariant across girls and boys in spite of hypothesized mean level differences of beliefs and emotions across genders. The emotions and beliefs of 1,036 male and 1,017 female 5th grade students were assessed by self-report measures, and their prior mathematics achievement was assessed by academic grades. Even though girls and boys had received similar grades in mathematics, girls reported significantly less enjoyment and pride than boys, but more anxiety, hopelessness and shame. Findings suggested that the female emotional pattern was due to the girls’ low competence beliefs and domain value of mathematics, combined with their high subjective values of achievement in mathematics. Multiple-group comparisons confirmed that the structural relationships between variables were largely invariant across the genders.

Key words

Achievement emotions Anxiety Control-value theory Gender differences Mathematics 

Résumé

Cette étude porte sur les différences de genre en ce qui a trait aux “émotions mathématiques”. S’appuyant sur la théorie émotionnelle des buts d’accomplissement (“control-value theory of achievement emotions”) de Pekrun (2000, 2006), nous postulons la présence d’une différence de genre en ce qui a trait aux émotions mathématiques qui serait expliquée par les différents niveaux de perception de contrôle et de perception de valeur, spécifiques au domaine des mathématiques, présentés par les élèves. Nous avons posé comme hypothèse la présence de cette différence même une fois l’accomplissement antérieur pris en considération. En dépit des différences de moyennes de niveaux anticipées à travers des genres en ce qui a trait aux perception de contrôle et de valeur ainsi qu’aux émotions, nous avons présupposé que les rapports structur aux entre l’accomplissement antérieur, les perception de contrôle et de valeur et les émotions demeureraient invariants à travers des garçons et des filles. 1036 garçons et 1017 filles de cinquième année ont participé à l’étude. Leurs émotions, leurs perceptions de contrôle et leurs sentiments de valeur furent évalués à l’aide de questionnaires d’auto-évaluation et leur accomplissement antérieur en mathématiques fut mesuré à partir de leurs résultats académiques. Malgré le fait que les écolières et les écoliers avaient rećcu des résultats équivalents en mathématiques, les filles ont affirmé ressentir de manière significative moins de joie et de fierté que les garçons, ainsi que plus d’anxiété, de désespérance et de honte. Les résultats suggèrent que le pattern émotionnel féminin s’explique par les niveaux peu élevés du perception de contrôle et du perception d’importance accordé au domaine, ceci associé au haut niveau du perception d’accomplissement. Les comparaisons multigroupes confirment en grande partie l’invariance, à travers des genres, des rapports structuraux entre les variables.

References

  1. Abela, J.R.Z., & Seligman, M.E.P. (2000). The hopelessness theory of depression: A test of the diathesis-stress component in the interpersonal and achievement domains.Cognitive Therapy and Research, 24, 361–378.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ainley, M., Corrigan, M., & Richardson, N. (2005). Students, tasks and emotions: Identifying the contribution of emotions to students’ reading of popular culture and popular science texts.Learning and Instruction, 15, 433–447.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Arbuckle, J.L. (2003).Amos 5 [Computer Software]. Chicago, IL: SmallWatersInc.Google Scholar
  4. Ashby, F.G., Isen, A.M., & Turken, A.U. (1999). A neuropsychological theory of positive affect and its influence on cognition.Psychological Review, 106, 529–550.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Ashcraft, M.H. (2002). Math anxiety: Personal, educational, and cognitive consequences.Current Directions in Psychological Science, 11, 181–185.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bandura, A. (1997).Self-efficacy: The exercise of control. New York: W.H. Freeman.Google Scholar
  7. Baron, R.M., & Kenny, D.A. (1986). The moderator-mediator variable distinction in social psychological research: Conceputal, strategic, and statistical considerations.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51, 1173–1182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Barrett, L.F., Robin, L., Pietromonaco, P., & Eyssell, K. (1998). Are women the over emotional sex? Evidence from emotional experiences in social context.Cognition and Emotion, 12, 555–578.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Blier, M.J., & Blier-Wilson, L.A. (1989). Gender differences in self-rated emotional expressiveness.Sex Roles, 21, 287–295.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Brody, L.R. (1985). Gender differences in emotional development: A review of theories and research.Journal of Personality, 53, 102–149.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Brush, L.R. (1985). Cognitive and affective determinants of course preferences and plans. In S.F. Chipman, L.R. Brush, & D.M. Wilson (Eds.),Women and mathematics balancing the equation (pp. 123–150). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  12. Bryant, F.B., Yarnold, P.R., & Grimm, L.G. (1996). Towards a measurement model of the affect intensity measure: A three-factor structure.Journal of Research in Personality, 30, 233–247.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Cohen, J. (1988).Statistical power analysis for the behavioural sciences (2nd ed.). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  14. Covington, M.V. (1984). The motive for self-worth. In R. Ames & C. Ames (Eds.),Research on motivation in education (vol. 1, pp. 77–113). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  15. Davies, P.G., & Spencer, S.J. (2005). Women’s understanding in quantitative domains through the lens of stereotype threat. In A.M. Gallagher & J.C. Kaufman (Eds.),Gender differences in mathematics (pp. 172–188). Cambridge: University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Diener, E. (2000). Subjective well-being.American Psychologist, 55(1), 34–43CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Eccles, J.S. (1987). Gender roles and women’s achievement-related decisions.Psychology of Women Quarterly, 11, 135–172.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Eccles, J.S., Wigfield, A., & Schiefele, U. (1997). Motivation to succeed. In W. Damon (Series Ed.) and N. Eisenberg (Ed.),Handbook of child psychology: Social, emotional, and personality development (5th ed., vol. 3, pp. 1017–1095). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  19. Eccles, J., Adler, T.F., Futtermann, R., Goff, S.B., Kaczala, C.M., Meece, J.L., & Midgley, C. (1983). Expectancies, values, and academic behaviors. In J.T. Spence (Ed.),Achievement and achievement motives (pp. 75–146). San Francisco: W.H. Freeman.Google Scholar
  20. Efklides, A., & Volet, S. (2005). Emotional experiences during learning: Multiple, situated and dynamic [Special Issue].Learning and Instruction, 15.Google Scholar
  21. Eisenberg, N., & Fabes, R. (1995). Children’s disclosure of vicariously induced emotions. In K.J. Rotenberg (Ed.),Disclosure processes in children and adolescents (pp. 111–134). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Fennema, E., & Sherman, J. (1977). Sex-related differences in mathematics achievement, spatial visualization and affective factors.American Educational Research Journal, 14, 51–71.Google Scholar
  23. Fennema, E., & Sherman, J. (1978). Sex-related differences in mathematics achievement, spatial visualization and affective factors: A further study.Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 9, 189–203.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Forgasz, H.J., Leder, G.C., & Kloosterman, P. (2004). New Perspectives on the gender stereotyping of mathematics.Mathematical Thinking and Learning, 6, 389–420.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Gallagher, A.M., & Kaufman, J.C. (2005).Gender differences in mathematics: An integrative psychological approach. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  26. Goetz, T., Frenzel, A.C., Hall, N.C., & Pekrun, R. (in press). Antecedents of academic emotions: Testing the Internal/Extemal Frame of Reference Model for academic enjoyment.Contemporary Educational Psychology.Google Scholar
  27. Grossman, M., & Wood, W. (1993). Sex differences in intensity of emotional experience: A social role interpretation.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 65, 1010–1022.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Harackiewitz, J.M., Barron, K.E., Tauer, J.M., Carter, S.M., & Elliot, A.J. (2000). Short-term and long-term consequences of achievement goals: Predicting interest and performance over time.Journal of Educational Psychology, 92, 316–330.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Hembree, R. (1988). Correlates, causes, effects and treatment of test anxiety.Review of Educational Research, 58, 47–77Google Scholar
  30. Hyde, J.S., Fennema, E., & Lamon, S.J. (1990). Gender differences in mathematics performance: A meta-analysis.Psychological Bulletin, 107, 139–155.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Hyde, J.S., Fennema, E., Ryan, M., Frost, L.A., & Hopp, C. (1990). Gender comparisons of mathematics attitudes and affect: A meta-analysis.Psychology of Women Quarterly, 14, 299–324.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Isen, A.M. (1999). Positive affect. In T. Dalgleish & M. Power (Eds.),Handbook of cognition and emotion (pp. 521–539). New York, NY: Wiley.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Kenny, D.A., Kashy, D.A., & Bolger, N. (1998). Data analysis in social psychology. In D. Gilbert, S. Fiske, & G. Lindzey (Eds.),Handbook of social psychology (vol. 1, pp. 233–265). Boston: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  34. Krapp, A. (2005). Basic needs and the development of interest and intrinsic motivational orientations.Learning and Instruction, 15, 381–395.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Larsen, R.J., & Diener, E. (1987). Affect intensity as individual difference characteristic: A review.Journal of Research in Personality, 21, 1–39CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Leahey, E., & Guo G. (2001). Gender differences in mathematical trajectories.Social Forces, 80, 713–732.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Linn, M.C., & Hyde, J.S. (1989). Gender, mathematics, and science.Educational Researcher, 18, 17–26.Google Scholar
  38. Linnenbrink, E.A. (Ed.). (2006). Emotion research in education: Theoretical and methodological perspectives on the integration of affect, motivation, and cognition [Special Issue].Educational Psychology Review, 18.Google Scholar
  39. Lupart, J.L., Cannon, E., & Telfer, J.O. (2004). Gender differences in adolescent academic achievement, interests, values, and life-role expectations.High Ability Studies, 15, 25–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Ma, X. (1999). A meta-analysis of the relationship between anxiety toward mathematics and achievement in mathematics.Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 30, 520–540.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Marsh, H.W., Balla, J.R., & McDonald, R.P. (1988). Goodness-of-fit in dexes in confirmatory factor analysis: The effect of sample size.Psychological Bulletin, 103, 391–410.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Meece, J.L., Wigfield, A., & Eccles, J.S. (1990). Predictors of math anxiety and its influence on young adolescents’ course enrollment intentions and performance in mathematics.Journal of Educational Psychology, 82, 60–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Meinhardt, J., & Pekrun, R. (2003). Attentional resource allocation to emotional events: An ERP study.Cognition and Emotion, 17, 477–500.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Meyer, M.R., & Koehler, M.S. (1990). Internal influences on gender differences in mathematics. In E. Fennema & G.C. Leder (Eds.),Mathematics and gender (pp. 60–95). New York: Teachers College, Columbia University.Google Scholar
  45. Mullis, I.V.S., Martin, M.O., Fierros, E.G., Goldberg, A.L., & Stemler, S.E. (2000).Gender differences in achievement: IEA’s Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS). Chestnut Hill, MA: Boston.Google Scholar
  46. Nicholls, J.G. (1990). What is ability and why are we mindful of it? A developmental perspective. In R.J. Sternberg & J. Kolligian (Eds.),Competence considered (pp. 11–40). New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  47. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) (2004a).Learning for tomorrow’s world: First results from PISA 2003. Paris, France: OECD.Google Scholar
  48. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) (2004b).Education at a glance. Paris, France: OECD.Google Scholar
  49. Pekrun, R. (1992). Expectancy-value theory of anxiety: Overview and implications. In D.G. Forgays, T. Sosnowski, & K. Wresniewski (Eds.),Anxiety: Recent developments in cognitive, psychophsysiological and health research (pp. 23–41). Washington, DC: Hemisphere.Google Scholar
  50. Pekrun, R. (2000). A social cognitive, control-value theory of achievement emotions. In J. Heckhausen (Ed.),Motivational psychology of human development (pp. 143–163). Oxford, UK: Elsevier Science.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Pekrun, R. (2006). The control-value theory of achievement emotions: Assumptions, corollaries, and implications for educational research and practice.Educational Psychology Review, 18, 315–341.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Pekrun, R., Goetz, T., & Frenzel, A.C. (2005).Academic Emotions Questionnaire — Mathematics (AEQ-M) — User’s Manual. University of Munich: Department of Psychology.Google Scholar
  53. Pekrun, R., Goetz, T., & Perry, R.P. (2005).Academic Emotions Questionnaire (AEQ) — User’s Manual. University of Munich: Department of Psychology.Google Scholar
  54. Pekrun, R., Goetz, T., Titz, W., & Perry, R.P. (2002). Academic emotions in students’ self-regulated learning and achievement: A program of quantitative and qualitative research.Educational Psychologist, 37, 91–106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Scherer, K.R. (1999). Appraisal Theory. In T. Dagleish & M. Power (Eds.),Handbook of cognition and emotion (pp. 637–664). John Wiley, Chichester.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Scherer, K.R., Schorr, A., & Johnstone, T. (Eds.). (2001).Appraisal processes in emotion. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  57. Schutz, P.A., & Lanehart, S.L. (Eds.). (2002). Emotions in Education [Special Issue].Educational Psychologist, 37.Google Scholar
  58. Schutz, P.A., & Pekrun, R. (Eds.). (2007).Emotions in education. San Diego: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  59. Seegers, G., & Boekaerts, M. (1996). Gender-related differences in self-referenced cognitions in relation to mathematics.Journal for Research in Mathematical Education, 27, 215–240.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Stipek, D.J., & Gralinsky, J.H. (1991). Gender differences in children’s achievement-related beliefs and emotional responses to success and failure in mathematics.Journal of Educational Psychology, 83, 361–371.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Tangney, J.P. (1990). Assessing individual differences in proneness to shame and guilt: Development of the Self-Conscious Affect and Attribution Inventory.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 59, 102–111.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Turner, J.E., & Schallert, D.L. (2001). Expectancy-value relationships of shame reactions and shame resiliency.Journal of Educational Psychology, 93, 320–329.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Weiner, B. (1985). An attributional theory of achievement motivation and emotion.Psychological Review, 92, 548–573CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Weiner, B. (1994). Integrating social and personal theories of achievement striving.Review of Educational Research, 64, 557–573.Google Scholar
  65. Wigfield, A., & Meece, J.L. (1988). Math anxiety in elementary and secondary school students.Journal of Educational Psychology, 80, 210–216.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Wigfield, A., Battle, A., Keller, L.B., & Eccles, J.S. (2002). Sex differences in motivation, self concept, career aspiration, and career choice: implications for cognitive development. In A. McGillicuddy-De Lisi & R. De Lisi (Eds.),Biology, society, and behavior: The development of sex differences in cognition (pp. 93–124). Westport, CT: Ablex.Google Scholar
  67. Wigfield, A., Eccles, J.S., Suk Yoon, K., Harold, R.D., Arbreton, A.J.A., Freedman-Doan, C., & Blumenfeld, P.C. (1997). Change in children’s competence beliefs and subjective task values across the elementary school years: A 3-year study.Journal of Educational Psychology, 89, 451–469.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Zeidner, M. (1998).Test anxiety: State of the art. New York: PlenumGoogle Scholar
  69. Zeidner, M., & Safir, M.P. (1989). Sex, ethnic, and social differences in test anxiety among Israeli adolescents.Journal of Genetic Psychology, 150, 175–185.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Instituto Superior de Psicologia Aplicada, Lisbon, Portugal/ Springer Netherlands 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anne C. Frenzel
    • 3
  • Reinhard Pekrun
    • 3
  • Thomas Goetz
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Univesity of KonstanzGermany
  2. 2.College of Teacher EducationThurganSwitzerland
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyUniversity of MunichMunichGermany

Personalised recommendations