Exploration of maths anxiety and its consequences

Topic headline: Exploration of maths anxiety and its consequences

Category: PhD research project

Institution: University of Derby

Department: Psychology

PhD supervisor: Dr. Tom Hunt and Professor David Sheffield

Application deadline: Applications accepted all year round

Funding availability: Self-funded PhD student only

Project description

Maths anxiety has been defined as feelings of tension and anxiety that interfere with the manipulation of numbers and the solving of mathematical problems in educational settings and in everyday life. The mechanisms linking maths anxiety to maths performance and achievement are relatively unknown; this PhD would focus on elucidating some potential mechanisms. The role of worry, intrusive thoughts, calculation strategy and psychophysiological reactivity could be examined in children or adults using, for example, questionnaire, self-report, dot probe or eye-tracking. Alternatively, or in addition, the role of maths self-efficacy could be examined, or the PhD could focus on interventions in relation to maths anxiety and maths self-efficacy. Research could focus on a range of populations or occupations/settings, e.g. education (students or teachers), nursing, engineering, or consumers. We would welcome further suggestions for research regarding the psychology of numeracy and maths.   

A successful applicant will join a thriving postgraduate community at the Kedleston Road site of the University of Derby, and will have a good (at least upper second) degree in psychology or a closely related subject, good quantitative research methods skills, and will be a well-organised, self-motivated researcher. 


Background reading

Hunt, T.E, Clark-Carter, D., & Sheffield,  D. (2011). The development and part-validation of a U.K scale for mathematics anxiety. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment, 29, 455-466.

Sheffield, D., & Hunt, T.E. (2007). How does anxiety influence maths performance and what can we do about it? MSOR Connections, 6, 19-23.


PhD study at the University of Derby

The University of Derby is pleased to welcome applications from self-funded or externally sponsored students for programmes of research in this or related areas, beginning from September 2012. Applications are welcome from students wishing to study full time or part time, and from students in employment who have the support of their employers.

The University of Derby provides PhD students with a range of facilities and support, including dedicated office space, PC and IT facilities, and library services, and all PhD students in Psychology are members of the Centre for Psychological Research, an active community of psychological researchers.

At the University of Derby, the Traditional Route PhD is taken by students who already have a Masters level qualification that includes research methods. Students without previous Masters level training in research methods take the New Route PhD, which includes training in research methods.

Have a look at the application process details and fee information.


Enquiry contact details

Dr. Tom Hunt

T: 01332 592015