The relationship between victimization at school and achievement: The cusp catastrophe model for reading performance

Georgios D. Sideridis, Faye Antoniou, Dimitrios Stamovlasis, Paul L. Morgan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


We evaluated the relationship between victimization and academic achievement from a nonlinear perspective using a cusp catastrophe model. Participants were 62 students with identified learning disabilities (LD) using statewide criteria in Greece. Students participated in a 2-year cohort-sequential design. Reading assessments involved measures of word accuracy, pseudoword accuracy, and reading comprehension using a standardized reading battery. Victimization was assessed using the Olweus (1993) questionnaire. Analysis involved estimation of the cusp model with the dependent variable (word accuracy or reading comprehension) being predicted by pseudoword or word decoding (the asymmetry factor) and victimization (the bifurcation or splitting factor). We hypothesized that the relationship between word and pseudoword decoding or reading comprehension and word decoding would be disrupted by the presence of high levels in victimization. That is, increased victimization following a critical point would be associated with unpredictable, sudden, and nonlinear changes in students' achievement in reading. Results were consistent with this hypothesis. Specifically, achievement in word decoding and reading comprehension entered a state of uncertainty (chaos) when victimization reached a certain threshold value. Consequently, victimization may not only affect emotional functioning but also seriously disrupt both reading achievement and self-regulatory processes related to reading.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)228-242
Number of pages15
JournalBehavioral Disorders
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


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