Pathological Fear of Students in Mathematics: Gender Differences

Keywords: Pathological Fear, Mathematics, Gender Differences, Mixed Method


The study explored the pathological fear in Mathematics of male and female college students. The study utilized the mixed method of research with 199 first year non-Math students as participants to determine the causes, effects, and ways of overcoming this fear. It made use of the cross-sectional design to explore the strategies of overcoming this pathological fear among the students. Results revealed that the students fear Math because of the influence of their friends, personal capacity, and the complex nature of Math. The male and female students differ in the prime cause of pathological fear. The cause as identified for the males is nature of the subject while personal capacity for the females. The students’ fear in Mathematics affects their performance in the subject. The main effect of the students’ fear in Math is recalling what had been learned when preparing for an examination. As a way of overcoming this fear, the female students cited that the teaching of mathematics should be made enjoyable. The male students suggested that they should be taught how mathematics is applied in everyday life situations. The students also need their parents’ support, encouragement, and motivation. On the part of the teachers, the students suggest the use of appropriate teaching strategies to make mathematics learning more meaningful.


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