There is a lack of in-depth, qualitative research into college hazing, particularly into groups such as sport club teams, creating gaps in understanding why hazing persists despite its risks. This project seeks to answer the questions: How do students in fraternities, sororities, and sport club teams experience hazing and how do these experiences shape how they perceive hazing? To answer these questions, I conducted semi-structured interviews with members of these groups on a college campus, and analyzed these interviews using a grounded theory approach, as per Charmaz (2006, 2017). I find that a slight majority of hazing occurs in recruitment settings, is prevalent among fraternity men’s experiences, and tends to involve alcohol consumption. Importantly, students believe hazing achieves group goals, and they minimize and normalize their experiences, creating much work for policymakers and university officials to change the conversation around prosocial group behavior and the potential harms that can emerge from hazing activities.


Hazing, Higher Education, Victimization, Interpersonal Violence, Qualitative Methods

Author Bio(s)

Kellie Alexander is a doctoral student in the Department of Sociology at Colorado State University. Kellie graduated from the University of Georgia in 2014 with her bachelor's degree in sociology and earned her master's degree from CSU in 2018. Her research interests broadly span crime, deviance, law, and green criminology. Please direct correspondence to kellie.alexander@colostate.edu.


Thank you to my participants and to the reviewers who helped strengthen this manuscript.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
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