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Child Development Research
Volume 2012, Article ID 982672, 10 pages
Research Article

Math Self-Assessment, but Not Negative Feelings, Predicts Mathematics Performance of Elementary School Children

1Developmental Neuropsychology Laboratory, Department of Psychology, Federal University of Minas Gerais, 31270-901 Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil
2Child and Adolescent Health Graduate Program, Medical School, Federal University of Minas Gerais, 31270-901 Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil
3Neuroscience Graduate Program, Federal University of Minas Gerais, 31270-901 Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil
4Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behavior, Radboud University Nijmegen, 106525 GA Nijmegen, The Netherlands
5Department of Neuropsychology, Institute of Psychology, Karl-Franzens-University of Graz, 8010 Graz, Austria

Received 9 May 2012; Revised 27 July 2012; Accepted 21 August 2012

Academic Editor: Mark Ashcraft

Copyright © 2012 Vitor Geraldi Haase et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Mathematics anxiety has been associated to performance in school mathematics. The association between math anxiety and psychosocial competencies as well as their specific contribution to explain school mathematics performance are still unclear. In the present study, the impact of sociodemographic factors, psychosocial competencies, and math anxiety on mathematics and spelling performance was examined in school children with and without mathematics difficulties. The specific contributions of psychosocial competencies (i.e., general anxiety and attentional deficits with hyperactivity) and math anxiety (i.e., self-assessment in mathematics) to school mathematics performance were found to be statistically independent from each other. Moreover, psychosocial competencies—but not math anxiety—were related also to spelling performance. These results suggest that psychosocial competencies are more related to general mechanisms of emotional regulation and emotional response towards academic performance, while mathematics anxiety is related to the specific cognitive aspect of self-assessment in mathematics.