Does Expressive Writing Blunt the Effects of Math Anxiety on Math Performance? A Conceptual Replication and Extension of Park et al. (2014)
Math anxiety (MA) is negatively related to math performance. One proposed intervention with potential to disrupt the MA-math performance link is expressive writing. The current study aimed to conceptually replicate Park and colleagues (2014). In that study, the authors concluded that expressive writing effectively boosted math anxious students’ performance. In our current sample of 168 college students, participants randomly assigned to the expressive writing condition were no more accurate at posttest than were other participants assigned to a math self-concept intervention, active control, or passive control. Additionally, participants in the math self-concept and active control conditions reported lower state MA immediately following the intervention; participants in the expressive writing and passive control conditions reported no differences between pretest and posttest state MA. The current study provides boundary conditions for the effectiveness of expressive writing interventions in ameliorating MA during difficult math tasks and illuminates potential mechanisms underlying MA.