Joining groups is a basic human need. Forming a sense of identity and belonging is a major
developmental task for teen-agers. Children of high school age, however, are just learning to
distinguish between appropriate and inappropriate behavior. They need healthy adult supervision,
role modeling, and guidance, without which initiation may easily go awry. When groups employ
humiliation and danger to initiate new members into their groups, it becomes hazing. We found
that 91 percent of high school students belong to at least one group. Nearly all of them (98%)
experienced positive activities as part of joining these groups, and half of them experienced only
positive activities. However, we also found:
Hazing is prevalent among American high school students.
48 percent of students who belong to groups reported being subjected to hazing activities.
43 percent reported being subjected to humiliating activities.
30 percent reported performing potentially illegal acts as part of their initiation.
All high school students who join groups are at risk of being hazed
Both female and male students report high levels of hazing, although male students are at
highest risk, especially for dangerous hazing.
The lower a student’s grade point average the greater their risk of being hazed.
Almost every type of high school group had significantly high levels of hazing.
Even groups usually considered safe haze new members. For example, 24 percent of students
involved in church groups were subjected to hazing activities.
Hazing hurts children, emotionally and physically
71 percent of the students subjected to hazing reported negative consequences, such as getting
into fights, being injured, fighting with parents, doing poorly in school, hurting other people,
having difficulty eating, sleeping, or concentrating, or feeling angry, confused, embarrassed or
Hazing starts young, and continues through high school and college
25 percent of those who reported being hazed were first hazed before the age of 13.
Dangerous hazing activities are as prevalent among high school students (22%) as among
college athletes (21%).
Substance abuse in hazing is prevalent in high school (23%) and increases in college (51%).
Adults must share the responsibility when hazing occurs.
Students were most likely to be hazed if they knew an adult who was hazed.
36 percent of the students said that they would not report hazing primarily because “There’s no
one to tell,” or “Adults won’t handle it right.” (27%)
Students do not distinguish between “fun” and hazing
Only 14 percent said they were hazed, yet 48 percent said they participated in activities that are
defined as hazing, and 29 percent said they did things that are potentially illegal in order to join
Most said they participated in humiliating, dangerous or potentially illegal activities as a part of