Hazing in Canadian university athletics: The influence of gender and sport type


Hazing has been found to be a common experience among college/university and high school varsity athletes (Allan & Madden, 2008; Hoover, 1999; 2000) and has been linked to negative physical and psychological outcomes. (Brakenridge, 1997; Finkel, 2002; Nuwer, 2000). Despite the potential seriousness of hazing activities, little is known about the factors that influence who experiences these activities and no examination of hazing prevalence has been undertaken in Canada. The purpose of the present study was to assess the prevalence of hazing in a sample of Canadian university athletes and examine the influence of gender and sport type (collision or non-collision) on the experience of hazing as a victim. Participants included 338 athletes from 27 sports teams at seven Canadian universities. Participants completed questionnaires assessing their hazing experiences. The results indicated that over the course of their careers, more than 92% of participants had experienced at least one hazing activity as a rookie, with nearly 72% involved in alcohol-related hazing activities and 47% participating in unacceptable hazing activities. The impacts of gender and sport type were examined using 2 (gender) X 2 (degree of contact) ANOVAs. Surprisingly, significant differences between men and women were not found. Conversely, a strong effect for sport type was identified: collision sport athletes were the most likely to have experienced hazing. These findings extended across various levels of hazing severity suggesting that the phenomenon of hazing is more closely tied to sport culture than gender. Implications of the findings for sport psychology practitioners are discussed.