Background: This study explored the nature and extent of college student hazing in the USA. Hazing, a form of interpersonal violence, can jeopardize the health and safety of students.
Methods: Using a web-based survey, data were collected from 11,482 undergraduate students, aged 18–25 years, who attended one of 53 colleges and universities. Additionally, researchers interviewed 300 students and staff at 18 of the campuses.
Results: Results reveal hazing among USA college students is widespread and involves a range of student organizations and athletic teams. Alcohol consumption, humiliation, isolation, sleep-deprivation and sex acts are hazing practices common across student groups. Furthermore, there is a large gap between the number of students who report experience with hazing behaviors and those that label their experience as hazing.
Conclusions: To date, hazing prevention efforts in post-secondary education have focused largely on students in fraternities/sororities and intercollegiate athletes. Findings from this study can inform development of more comprehensive and research-based hazing prevention efforts that target a wider range of student groups. Further, data can serve as a baseline from which to measure changes in college student hazing over time.