Background As with most mental health disorders, the topic of hazing is not exclusive to the student athlete. However, it is also clear that the unique set of situations faced by athletes create a set of additional and difficult challenges to their mental and physical well-being. A deep-rooted culture, a lack of knowledge about hazing and its causal relationships, and a failure to act by teammates and adults all play a role in the propagation of this danger. Also, in an era where the popular press similarly celebrates and chastises episodes of hazing, it is increasingly crucial to turn to the scientific literature for guidance.
Purpose To provide a comprehensive review of the scientific research on hazing in sports and to make recommendations for enhancing the approach and assistance to those in need on an individual and societal level.
Study design Qualitative literature review of hazing in collegiate and school sports.
Methods Databases including PubMed, Google Scholar, SPORTDiscus, EMBASE and MEDLINE were searched using standardised terms, alone and in combination, including ‘hazing’, ‘bullying’, ‘sport’, ‘athlete’, ‘college’, ‘school’ and ‘youth’.
Findings Despite increased attention to its dangers, hazing remains pervasive throughout the sports world. However, many do not recognise those actions as consistent with hazing. A change in culture, increased education and awareness, along with methodologically sound strategies for action must occur in order to reduce the ill effects and cycle of hazing. To date, current information and efforts are lacking.
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