Associations Between Teacher and Student Mathematics, Science, and Literacy Anxiety in Fourth Grade

Leigh McLean, Jayley Janssen, Paul Espinoza, Sarah Lindstrom Johnson, Manuela Jimenez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The present study explored associations among teachers’ anxiety for teaching mathematics, science, and English language arts and their students’ own anxiety in each content area, and how these associations varied depending on student sex and socioeconomic status (SES). Participants included 33 fourth-grade teachers and 463 students from 14 schools in the Southwestern United States. Multiple regression models with cluster-robust standard errors were run regressing students’ mid-year, self-reported content-area anxiety on teachers’ self-reported content-area anxiety at the beginning of the year and controlling for students’ beginning-of-year anxiety in that content area. Two interaction effects were detected whereby teachers’ mathematics and science anxiety were each positively associated with the mathematics and science anxiety of their low-SES students. Findings provide additional evidence for processes of emotional transmission between teachers and students in the classroom and provide additional information about the learning contexts and student groups for whom these processes may be particularly relevant.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)539-551
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Educational Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Mar 9 2023


  • content areas
  • elementary education
  • student anxiety
  • teacher anxiety
  • teacher emotions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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