This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Assessing the Efficacy of Analytical Definitions in Hazing Education




Kittle, Paul

Type of Degree



Education Foundation, Leadership, and Technology


Hazing is a problem that persists on college campuses and in high schools. According to Nuwer (2011) between 1970 and 2006, there was at least one hazing-related death each year on a college campus. Hazing education and prevention programs, such as speaker series, anti-hazing marketing campaigns, policy enforcement efforts, and sanctioning, which are frequently grounded in an extensional definition of hazing, have been present on college campuses for the past 20 years, yet the incidents of hazing are on the rise (Ellsworth, 2006; Nuwer, 2004). The literature repeatedly states that, due to the lack of a common definition, awareness and prevention efforts are often unsuccessful at increasing students’ awareness of hazing activities or reducing the likelihood that hazing activities will occur (Allan & Madden, 2008; Ellsworth, 2006; Hollmann, 2002; Shaw, 1992; Smith, 2009). Allan and Madden (2008) found that 91 percent of students who have experienced hazing do not identify themselves as being hazed. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether or not there were differences in students’ ability to identify hazing activities after treatment which consisted of reading either an extensional or analytical definition of hazing. A second purpose of this study was to investigate whether or not there was a difference between the students’ ability to identify hazing activities based on demographic variables. This study was a pragmatic effort to move past the noted barrier of the definition of hazing. The findings of this study indicate that an analytical hazing definition is not as effective as an extensional hazing definition at increasing a students’ ability to recognize hazing activities. The findings further indicate that women identify hazing activities more readily than men and participants from the Midwest region of the country consistently identify hazing activities at a higher frequency than Southeast participants. Regardless of definition type, participants demonstrated an increase in their ability to identify hazing activities after reading a treatment text. Although an analytical definition increased participant’s ability to recognize hazing activities, it did so at a rate less than that of the extensional definition which is the current standard.