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ERIC Number: EJ1042226
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0022-2194
Reactivity to Stress and the Cognitive Components of Math Disability in Grade 1 Children
MacKinnon McQuarrie, Maureen A.; Siegel, Linda S.; Perry, Nancy E.; Weinberg, Joanne
Journal of Learning Disabilities, v47 n4 p349-365 Jul-Aug 2014
This study investigated the relationship among working memory, processing speed, math performance, and reactivity to stress in 83 Grade 1 children. Specifically, 39 children with math disability (MD) were compared to 44 children who are typically achieving (TA) in mathematics. It is the first study to use a physiological index of stress (salivary cortisol levels) to measure children's reactivity while completing tasks that assess the core components of MD: working memory for numbers, working memory for words, digits backward, letter number sequence, digit span forward, processing speed for numbers and words, block rotation, and math tasks. Grade 1 children with MD obtained significantly lower scores on the letter number sequence and quantitative concepts tasks. Higher levels of reactivity significantly predicted poorer performance on the working memory for numbers, working memory for words, and quantitative concepts tasks for Grade 1 children, regardless of math ability. Grade 1 children with MD and higher reactivity had significantly lower scores on the letter number sequence task than the children with MD and low reactivity. The findings suggest that high reactivity impairs performance in working memory and math tasks in Grade 1 children, and young children with high reactivity may benefit from interventions aimed at lowering anxiety in stressful situations, which may improve learning.
SAGE Publications and Hammill Institute on Disabilities. 2455 Teller Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91320. Tel: 800-818-7243; Tel: 805-499-9774; Fax: 800-583-2665; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 1
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children; Woodcock Johnson Tests of Achievement; Woodcock Johnson Tests of Cognitive Ability