Br J Sports Med doi:10.1136/bjsports-2015-095603
  • Review

Qualitative review of hazing in collegiate and school sports: consequences from a lack of culture, knowledge and responsiveness

  1. Gary S Solomon1,4
  1. 1Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee, USA
  2. 2Department of Pediatrics, Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, Nashville, Tennessee, USA
  3. 3Program for Injury Prevention in Youth Sports (PIPYS) at Vanderbilt, Nashville, Tennessee, USA
  4. 4Departments of Neurological Surgery and Psychiatry, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Alex B Diamond, Vanderbilt Sports Medicine, Medical Center East, South Tower, Suite 3200, Nashville, TN 37232, USA; alex.b.diamond{at}
  • Received 1 October 2015
  • Revised 3 November 2015
  • Accepted 9 November 2015
  • Published Online First 16 December 2015


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.

Free sample

This 2015 issue is free to all users to allow everyone the opportunity to see the full scope and typical content of BJSM.
View free sample issue >>

Email alerts

Don't forget to sign up for content alerts so you keep up to date with all the articles as they are published.

Navigate This Article