%A Eriksson,Kimmo
%D 2020
%J Frontiers in Psychology
%C
%F
%G English
%K Learning attitudes,gender differences,mathematics achievement,Peer influence,female amplification
%Q
%R 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.578092
%W
%L
%M
%P
%7
%8 2020-November-25
%9 Original Research
%#
%! Interest in Mathematics Schoolwork
%*
%<
%T Gender Differences in the Interest in Mathematics Schoolwork Across 50 Countries
%U https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.578092
%V 11
%0 JOURNAL ARTICLE
%@ 1664-1078
%X Although much research has found girls to be less interested in mathematics than boys are, there are many countries in which the opposite holds. I hypothesize that variation in gender differences in interest are driven by a complex process in which national culture promoting high math achievement drives down interest in math schoolwork, with the effect being amplified among girls due to their higher conformity to peer influence. Predictions from this theory were tested in a study of data on more than 500,000 grade 8 students in 50 countries from the 2011 and 2015 waves of TIMSS. Consistent with predictions, national achievement levels were strongly negatively correlated with national levels of math schoolwork interest and this variation was larger among girls: girls in low-achievement, high-interest countries had especially high interest in math schoolwork, whereas girls in high-achievement, low-interest countries had especially low interest in math schoolwork. Gender differences in math schoolwork interest were also found to be related to gender differences in math achievement, emphasizing the importance of understanding them better.