Though involvement in team sports is often encouraged for its health-inducing benefits, this encouragement generally comes without consideration of the initiation rituals oftentimes required for full team membership. In years past, hazing practices were typically considered harmless, comical pranks associated with young men in college fraternities. However, hazing extends far beyond college fraternities and is experienced by both males and females in school groups, university organizations, athletic teams, military, and other social and professional organizations; research shows that these initiation rituals cause emotional and physical harm and sometimes even lead to death. While specific behaviors or activities related to initiation rituals vary widely among participants, groups, and settings, the number of harmful and degrading practices far outweigh the number of positive team-building activities (Hoover, 1999). Burgeoning evidence suggests that hazing fractures team relationships instead of building cohesion and that adopting more inclusive team building practices can facilitate a movement to more positive, healthy initiation experiences (johnson, 2009; Van Raalte, Cornelius, Linder, & Brewer, 2007). This study thus investigates the negative impact initiation ceremonies such as hazing have on the health of athletes and teams in general. Suggestions for policy changes with the potential to shift initiation rituals to more healthful, team-building activities are included.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/jay_johnson/1/