This study examined whether children's mathematics anxiety serves as an underlying pathway between parental involvement and children's mathematics achievement. Participants included 78 low-income, ethnic minority parents and their children residing in a large urban center in the northeastern United States. Parents completed a short survey tapping several domains of parental involvement, and children were assessed on mathematics anxiety, whole number arithmetic, word problems, and algebraic reasoning. Research Findings: The results indicated that parents influence children's mathematics achievement by reducing mathematics anxiety, particularly for more difficult kinds of mathematics. Specifically, the mediation analyses demonstrated that parental home support and expectations influenced children's performance on word problems and algebraic reasoning by reducing children's mathematics anxiety. Mathematics anxiety did not mediate the relationship between home support and expectations and whole number arithmetic. Practice or Policy: Policies and programs targeting parental involvement in mathematics should focus on home-based practices that do not require technical mathematical skills. Parents should receive training, resources, and support on culturally appropriate ways to create home learning environments that foster high expectations for children's success in mathematics.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported in part by challenge grants from New York University and the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. Thanks to participating principals, teachers, parents, and students. Thanks to research assistants Tanisha Yong, Tyra Bailey, Rachel Harari, Chelsea Ziesig, Sean Bailey, Katie Iorio, Victoria Jackson, and Sarah Klevan.