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Front. Psychol. | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01217

Profiles of Mathematics Anxiety among 15-Year-Old Students: A Cross-Cultural Study Using Multi-group Latent Profile Analysis

 Xizhen Fan1, Ronald K. Hambleton2 and  Minqiang Zhang3*
  • 1School of Psychology, South China Normal University, China
  • 2University of Massachusetts Amherst, United States
  • 3South China Normal University, China

Using PISA 2012 data, the present study explored profiles of mathematics anxiety (MA) among 15-year old students from Finland, Korea, and the United States to determine the similarities and differences of MA across the three national samples by applying a multi-group latent profile analysis (LPA). The major findings were that (a) three MA profiles were found in all three national samples, i.e., Low MA, Mid MA, and High MA profile, and (b) the percentages of students classified into each of the three MA profiles differed across the Finnish, Korean, and American samples, with US having the highest prevalence of High MA, and Finland the lowest. Multi-group LPA also provided clear and useful latent profile separation. The High MA profile demonstrated significant poorer mathematics performance and lower mathematics interest, self-efficacy, and self-concept than the Mid and Low MA profiles. Same differences appeared between the Mid and Low MA profiles. The implications of the findings seem clear: (1) it is possible that there is some relative level of universality in MA among 15-year old students which is independent of cultural context; and (2) multi-group latent profile analysis could be a useful analytic tool for research on the study of classification and cultural differences of MA.

Keywords: Mathematics anxiety, multi-group latent profile analysis, cross-culture, cultural differences, mathematics anxiety profiles, mathematics performance

Received: 15 Nov 2018; Accepted: 08 May 2019.

Edited by:

Michio Nomura, Kyoto University, Japan

Reviewed by:

Sahana Mukherjee, Gettysburg College, United States
Ann Dowker, University of Oxford, United Kingdom  

Copyright: © 2019 Fan, Hambleton and Zhang. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Prof. Minqiang Zhang, South China Normal University, Guangzhou, China,