The home numeracy environment and children's math skills: The moderating role of parents' math anxiety

J Exp Child Psychol. 2023 Mar;227:105578. doi: 10.1016/j.jecp.2022.105578. Epub 2022 Nov 17.


Evidence suggests that parents' math anxiety moderates the association between parents' help in mathematics homework and first graders' mathematics skills. Understanding whether similar associations are evident in younger children, in regard to the home numeracy environment (HNE) is essential, given that early math skills are strong predictors of later academic outcomes, and children's skills prior to kindergarten are fostered principally by their parents. Thus, the purpose of this study was to examine the association and interaction between the HNE and parents' math anxiety related to preschool children's numeracy performance. Participants were 121 parent-child dyads. Results from hierarchical multiple regression models demonstrated that parents' math anxiety and the HNE, included as separate predictors of children's math skills, were not statistically significant. However, the interaction between HNE and parents' math anxiety was statistically significant, such that the positive association between HNE and children's numeracy skills emerged when parents felt less anxious about math. These findings highlight the importance of accounting for parents' math anxiety when exploring the home influences on children's numeracy skills.

Keywords: Children’s performance; Home numeracy environment; Numeracy; Numeracy activities; Parent-child interaction; Parents’ mathematics anxiety; Preschool.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Humans
  • Mathematics
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • Parents
  • Schools*