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Exploring the links between household chores, learning, and mathematics performance in Zambia

Tan, Mei; Li, Nan; Pirozzolo, Joseph W.; Bolden, David; Chamvu, Florence; Jere-Folotiya, Jacqueline; Kaani, Bestern; Kalima, Kalima; N’gandu, Sophie Kasonde; Serpell, Robert; Grigorenko, Elena L.; Hart, Lesley; Chart, Hilary; Jarvin, Linda; Kwiatkowski, Jonna; Newman, Tina; Stemler, Steven E.; Thuma, Philip E.; Yrigollen, Carolyn

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Mei Tan

Nan Li

Joseph W. Pirozzolo

Florence Chamvu

Jacqueline Jere-Folotiya

Bestern Kaani

Kalima Kalima

Sophie Kasonde N’gandu

Robert Serpell

Elena L. Grigorenko

Lesley Hart

Hilary Chart

Linda Jarvin

Jonna Kwiatkowski

Tina Newman

Steven E. Stemler

Philip E. Thuma

Carolyn Yrigollen


In Zambia, as well as many other African and non-Western cultures, the extent and kind of children’s chores may contribute to their learning, yet often also conflict with their schooling. In the moderation analysis we present in this manuscript, we aimed to explore the interactive effects of schooling and chores on children’s mathematics performance at different levels of math knowledge and computational skill, taking into account how the assessment questions were presented. The sample consisted of 1,535 children (719 girls) living in rural and peri-urban communities in Zambia who were administered the Zambia Achievement Test (ZAT). We categorized the 60 items of the ZAT by their targeted content knowledge, sizes of the numbers involved, and forms of representation. Our results showed that chores supported the development of very basic mathematics skills and knowledge in children who had less schooling, but also significantly lowered the performance of students who were in school once their school attendance rose above certain levels. Moreover, this interaction between chores and school attendance was observed predominantly in girls, with a lesser effect of chores on boys.


Tan, M., Li, N., Pirozzolo, J. W., Bolden, D., Chamvu, F., Jere-Folotiya, J., …Yrigollen, C. (2023). Exploring the links between household chores, learning, and mathematics performance in Zambia. Current Psychology, 42, 20397–20408.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 31, 2022
Online Publication Date May 3, 2022
Publication Date 2023-08
Deposit Date Jun 30, 2022
Publicly Available Date May 3, 2023
Journal Current Psychology
Print ISSN 1046-1310
Electronic ISSN 1936-4733
Publisher Springer
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 42
Pages 20397–20408
Public URL


Accepted Journal Article (604 Kb)

Copyright Statement
This version of the article has been accepted for publication, after peer review (when applicable) and is subject to Springer Nature’s AM terms of use, but is not the Version of Record and does not reflect post-acceptance improvements, or any corrections. The Version of Record is available online at:

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