University students’ perceptions of hazing: a gender approach

Suzana Nunes Caldeira, Osvaldo Silva, Maria Mendes, Susana Botelho and Maria José D. Martins

The initiation rituals that freshmen are subjected to in universities have been characterized quite differently, although the most frequent view is that it is a rough experience for those coming to higher education for the first time. Gender has emerged as a differentiating variable of how students experience this practice. In this study, our interest is to find out the perceptions of university students over the events that take place during the entry to higher education through a comparative gender analysis. The sample included247 students of both genders. Data were collected by means of the scale ‘Evaluation of Bullying Situations in Higher Education Hazing’, which consists of 15 items and three factors: ‘positive relationship with hazing’, ‘negative relationship with hazing’ and ‘social dimension’. Findings indicate that, in the overall scale, there are significant differences between genders, with boys expressing a stronger agreement with the practice. In the analysis by dimension, this fact is reinforced, since in the ‘positive relationship with hazing’, boys exhibit significantly higher results than girls. In the distribution of variables in the two-dimensional space (CatPCA), we witness that, despite agreeing with hazing practices, boys display a very heterogeneous behavior, while girls more homogeneously disagree with them.

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