Hazing in View: College Students at Risk (page 2 of 5)


Research Goals

The goals of the national study are to:

  1. Investigate the nature and extent of hazing behaviors among students in U.S. colleges and universities.
  2. Offer research-based strategies for responding to and preventing the problem of hazing among college students with transferability to middle and secondary schools.

Data Collection
Data collected for the national study occurred in the following two stages:

Stage One:  The Survey
11,482 students at 53 postsecondary institutions completed a web-based survey.  The survey was launched twice, once in April–May 2007, and again in October 2007 with a subset of institutions.  Institutions were selected to ensure representation from across all regions of the United States according to NASPA’s regional schema and according to several Carnegie classification criteria (public/private, size, and setting). 

The survey included more than 100 items related to hazing including questions about student experiences with hazing behaviors, perceptions about hazing on their campus, awareness of institutional hazing policies, consequences of hazing, and experiences with hazing prior to college.  The survey was piloted in spring 2005 with over 1,750 college students at four colleges and universities.  Following the pilot study, the survey was further refined in consultation with the Research Advisory Group.

A substantial portion of the survey featured questions related to hazing behaviors.  First, students were provided with a list of organizations and teams and asked to identify up to two student activities or teams in which they have been most involved during college.  For each affiliation with a team or organization, participants were given a list of behaviors, most of which met the definition of hazing.  Respondents were then asked if the behavior happened to him/herself or others in the group as part of joining or belonging to that team or organization.  The list of questions was programmed to allow for each to be tailored to the respondent and to reference the specific team or organization in which the student was involved.   Respondents indicating they were not involved with any team or organization were asked to respond to questions related to their experiences with student organizations and teams in high school.  

The list of hazing behaviors included in the survey was developed through focus groups with undergraduate students, review of the literature related to hazing, and the expertise of the Research Advisory Group.*  The survey included more than 30 types of hazing behaviors including the following:

  1. Attend a skit night or roast where other members are humiliated
  2. Sing or chant by yourself or with a few select team members in a public situation that is not related to the event, game, or practice
  3. Wear clothing that is embarrassing and not part of the uniform
  4. Be yelled, screamed, or cursed at by other team/organization members
  5. Get a tattoo or pierce a body part
  6. Act as a personal servant to other members
  7. Associate with specific people and not others
  8. Deprive yourself of sleep
  9. Be awakened at night by other members
  10. Make prank phone calls or harass others
  11. Be tied up, taped, or confined to small spaces
  12. Be transported to and dropped off in an unfamiliar location
  13. Endure harsh weather without the proper clothing
  14. Drink large amounts of a non-alcoholic beverage such as water
  15. Participate in a drinking game
  16. Drink large amounts of alcohol to the point of passing out or getting sick
  17. Watch live sex acts
  18. Perform sex acts with same gender

Each institution provided researchers with a random sample of student email addresses consisting of 25% of their full-time undergraduate student population, ages 18 to 25 years.  These students received an email invitation to participate in the survey along with a web address and a pin number to enter the survey.  The pin number ensured that each student responded only once to the survey.

The overall response rate of the survey was 12% based on the number of surveys completed as a percentage of total email invitations sent.  When using the Internet, it is uncertain how many respondents actually received the email invitation.  We could, however, track the number of respondents who arrived at the first page of the survey after clicking-through from the email invitation.  Of these, a completion rate is calculated reflecting the number of respondents who finish the survey as a percentage of those who actually arrive at the survey location on the web.  The completion rate was 67% for the April–May 2007 launch of the survey and 73% for the October administration of the survey.

Stage Two:  Campus Visits
A.  Interviews
The two lead researchers and two additional interviewers made campus visits during fall semester 2007.  Face-to-face interviews were conducted with approximately 20 staff and students at each of 18 colleges and universities—a subset of the 53 participating in the national survey.  Institutions were selected for interviews based on the following criteria: a) minimum response rate to the survey; b) geographic location; and c) type of institution.  The final pool of institutions participating in the interviews represented large and small public and private institutions across NASPA regions.

Interviews were 30–60 minutes in duration and were audio taped and later transcribed for analysis. The total number of interviews exceeds 300 for the national study, supplementing the 90 interviews conducted for the pilot study.  Participants included student leaders, student affairs and athletics staff, and senior student affairs administrators.  In advance of each campus visit, researchers worked with an appointed student affairs staff member to identify interviewees and schedule the interviews with male and female students involved in a range of student organizations and athletic teams and representative of the campus’ socio-cultural diversity. 

B.  Documents
Educational, training, and policy documents were collected from the 18 institutions participating in the interview stage of the study. 

Participant Demographics
A total of 11,482 undergraduate students between the ages of 18 and 25 completed the survey.   


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Hazing: What’s the big deal?

Stories shared from the Globe and Mail newspaper September 20th and October 25th 2006 on-line editions and the websites: HazingatCornell.edu, badjocks.com and stophazing.org

Read the Paper

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