Bullying in Young Adulthood: College Hazing as a Form of Bullying

  • Paul R. Smokowski
  • Caroline B. R. Evans


Bullying does not stop with high school graduation. To the contrary, young adults who graduate from high school and enter college are at risk for hazing, a brutal and illegal form of abuse used to initiate newcomers into sports teams, groups, clubs, and organizations. Hazing involves intense humiliation and often causes enduring emotional and physical scars, and sometimes death. Fraternity and sorority pledges and new members of sports teams, marching bands, clubs, or groups are at risk for hazing victimization while senior members of these groups perpetrate hazing “traditions.” Although some might argue that pledges or newcomers willingly engage in hazing, we believe that hazing can best be understood as a form of bullying. We provide an overview of hazing, including a discussion of the definition in general and as related to state anti-hazing laws. We also provide prevalence rates and discuss the consequences of hazing. Finally, we apply the three definitional components of bullying (repetition, power imbalance, and intent to harm) to hazing incidents and argue that the bullying dynamic forms a foundation for a nuanced understanding of hazing.


Hazing College bullying Humiliation 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul R. Smokowski
    • 1
  • Caroline B. R. Evans
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Social WelfareUniversity of KansasLawrenceUSA
  2. 2.Rhode Island CollegeProvidenceUSA

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