Hazing in the military: A scoping review

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Introduction: Initiation rituals have long been part of military organizations, serving to create a sense of cohesion and commitment to the armed forces. However, hazing, which involves harassment, humiliation, and abuse, can cause severe mental and physical harm to military personnel and erode operational morale and efectiveness. Although hazing goes against core institutional values of ethical behaviour and professional integrity, it continues to occur and has received limited empirical attention in military organizations. Methods: Tis scoping review aimed to provide an overview of what is known about hazing in the military by mapping the academic literature. Te authors conducted a comprehensive search of PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science, EBSCO, and ProQuest for English-language, peer-reviewed research articles addressing hazing and initiation rituals in the armed forces. Results: Te review includes 22 articles, originating from various countries, including the United States, Russia, United Kingdom, Canada, South Korea, Philippines, Norway, Sweden, South Africa, and Brazil. Te themes identifed in this review address the prevalence of hazing, underlying mechanisms (specifcally cultural norms, military socialization, group cohesion, and hypermasculinity), and preventive organizational responses in the military. Discussion: On the basis of this scoping review, the authors argue new approaches are necessary on an organizational level, in practice and in policy, to address and prevent hazing in the military. More empirical research is also required on hazing, the connection between hazing and sexualized violence, and efective preventive mechanisms.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2-18
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Military, Veteran and Family Health
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2023


  • armed forces
  • cohesion
  • hazing
  • initiation
  • military culture
  • sexualized violence

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