High School Hazing: A Study of the Autobiographical Memories of Entering First Year College Students
Crandall, Suzanne E.
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The problem: The purpose of the study is to determine if relationships exist between autobiographical memories of entering first year college students of their high school hazing experiences and demographic variables. Hazing is defined as any humiliating or dangerous activity expected of students when joining a high school group, regardless of their willingness to participate. Procedures: The study is a systematic replication of the 2000 Alfred University study on high school hazing. A cohort of 458 students was surveyed at a private Midwestern university during the fall of 2002 yielding an 88% response rate. Four null hypotheses were tested using statistical analyses including logistic regression, multiple regression, frequency tables, cross tabulation with chi-square, and chi-square goodness-of-fit tests. Two months after administration of the survey, a follow up focus group was conducted. The focus group was analyzed with appropriate qualitative methods. Findings: All four null hypotheses were rejected because statistically significant relationships were found between demographic variables and students' high school hazing experiences. No definitive demographic profile could be identified for the typical student or high school most at risk. Focus group participants added richness and depth to the survey data. Conclusions: Students are at risk of being hazed in high school. Participants did not distinguish between "fun" and hazing. Adults must share more responsibility for stopping hazing. Limitation: Students' views on high school hazing might have been impacted by the time frame in which the study was conducted due to the autobiographical nature of the study. Recommendations: Future research could be conducted within high school settings or with entering first year college students at other types of educational institutions. Additionally, multiple focus groups with students and adults could enable development of education and intervention programs.
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