The Spectrum of Hazing and Peer Sexual Abuse in Sports: A Current Perspective

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Abstract

Context:

Hazing and peer sexual abuse in sport are a critical issue, brought into public scrutiny with increasing frequency due to various forms of media, resulting in major causes of numerous avoidable mental health issues, and in some cases, even death. While the exact incidence of these activities is extremely difficult to quantify, trends indicate that the problem is very likely underreported.

Evidence Acquisition:

PubMed, Google, various legal journals/statutes, books on hazing and peer abuse in sport, and newspaper periodicals/editorials were all searched. Sources range in date from 1968 through 2018.

Study Design:

Clinical review.

Level of Evidence:

Level 5.

Results:

Hazing and peer sexual abuse are complex issues that have the potential to lead to physical, emotional, and mental harm. The underlying causes of hazing are complex but rooted in maintaining a hierarchical structure within the team unit. By implementing various changes and strategies, coaches and team administration can mitigate the risks of these behaviors.

Conclusion:

Hazing and peer sexual abuse in sport are avoidable and must be eliminated to maximize the numerous physical and psychosocial benefits attainable by participating in team athletics.

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