Education and Human Sciences, College of (CEHS)


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A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Arts, Major: Educational Psychology, Under the supervision of Professor Eric S. Buhs. Lincoln, Nebraska: August, 2011

Copyright 2011 Tiffany R. Murray Sydzyik


This study examined the relationship between forms of victimization on participation, achievement, and depressive symptoms. Participation was hypothesized to mediate the link between victimization and achievement and internalizing symptoms such as depression. Two forms of victimization (overt and relational) were hypothesized to predict participation. Participation was also hypothesized to predict achievement and depression. Conducting a model estimation using structural equations modeling (SEM) showed that overt victimization had a significant negative relationship with participation, which means that for example, as overt victimization rates were higher, participation tended to be lower. These results also indicated that participation and achievement had a significant positive relationship, meaning that higher levels of participation may contribute to greater achievement.

Relational victimization was found to have a significant positive relationship with depression, suggesting that as relational victimization levels were higher, reports of depressive symptoms were likely to be higher as well. Finally, participation had a significant negative relationship with depressive symptoms. As participation levels were higher in this sample, reports of depression tended to be lower. Tests of moderation were done to examine potential gender and classroom level differences within the hypothesized model. These results indicated that overt victimization significantly predicted participation for girls. Participation was also significantly linked to depression for girls, but not boys. Depression was significantly linked to relational victimization for both boys and girls. Paths from participation to achievement were significant for both boys and girls. Tests of mediation were also done using indirect effects. Results for indirect effects within the model for boys yielded all non-significant indirect effects. Overt victimization yielded a significant indirect effect on achievement for girls and paths from overt victimization to depression were also significant for girls, but not boys.

Adviser: Eric S. Buhs