That Old Devil Called ‘Statistics’: Statistics Anxiety in University Students and Related Factors

  • Melita Puklek Levpušček Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • Maja Cukon Upper Secondary School of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Technical Gymnasium Ljubljana, Slovenia
Keywords: statistics anxiety, trait anxiety, attitudes towards mathematics and statistics, university students


The present study investigated relationships between statistics anxiety (SA), trait anxiety, attitudes towards mathematics and statistics, and academic achievement among university students who had at least one study course related to statistics in their study programme. Five hundred and twelve students from the University of Ljubljana completed the Statistics Anxiety Rating Scale (STARS), State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, and answered questions about their perceptions of mathematics and statistics. The results showed below-average mean scores on the STARS dimensions, except for the Test and Class Anxiety with the average score around the midpoint of the scale. Female students reported higher levels of SA than male students did. The highest levels of SA were reported by students who perceived mathematics and statistics as a threat. The subscales of the STARS correlated positively with students’ trait anxiety. Students who reported less enjoyment in mathematics in high school perceived statistics to be a less worthy subject and had a lower computation self-concept. Students who had better mathematics performance in high school and higher average study grades also reported a higher computation self-concept. In the present study, we translated the STARS questionnaire into Slovenian and confirmed the six-factor structure of the questionnaire. The results provide a basis for further research on statistics anxiety and further validation of the STARS questionnaire. The results can also aid statistics teachers in better understanding students’ worries, fears, and attitudes towards statistics and in learning about the factors that affect students’ statistics anxiety and their work in the course.


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