Publication Date


Degree Program

Department of Psychology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


Research suggests that anxiety characteristics play a role in determining the courses students choose in college. Other research suggests that efficacy may play a similar role as well. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the relationship between anxiety and efficacy and choice of major for English and mathematics majors. Ninety-nine undergraduate and graduate students from Western Kentucky University (49 males and 50 females) participated in the study. All participants were officially declared mathematics (or mathematics-related, i.e., computer science) or English majors. Instruments included a measure of mathematics anxiety, mathematics efficacy, writing efficacy, writing anxiety, facilitating anxiety, debilitating anxiety, trait anxiety, and a background information sheet. Results showed that mathematics majors had significantly lower mathematics anxiety scores and higher mathematics efficacy scores than English majors. Also, English majors had significantly higher writing efficacy scores than mathematics majors. Gender differences were found with women having significantly less writing anxiety and more mathematics anxiety than men. These findings suggest anxiety and efficacy do play a determining role in college students' choice of major.


Education | Psychology