Ragging Problem at Colleges - a Mental Health Issue?

Posted by S T Janetius on Thu, Aug 13, 2009  
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Increased incidents of ragging in colleges become menace and have become greater concern for educational authorities and policy makers all over India. Although criminologists have long recognized the strong correlation between peer pressure, personality profile and family background and a person's misconduct, the mechanisms underlying this relationship remain elusive.

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In the name of welcoming and introducing the new students to the college setup, ragging has become a notorious practice in the colleges and universities and other institutes of higher education these days. Today ragging has assumed to torturous, vulgar, criminal and inhuman forms of bully in the Indian colleges, the government of India, even the President of the country has to warn about serious actions.

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My question is – Those who involve in ragging incidents, both the persecutor and the victim, have some personality or mental health problems?

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Ragging takes precedence today in the form of senior students harassing their junior counterparts to satiate their own perverse sadistic pleasures. This results in causing grievous physical as well as mental trauma to students. In many cases students who succumb to ragging develop a psychotic fear that traumatises them throughout their lives and quit their college education. In a known case to me, junior students were able to harass seniors because of a dominating male in the junior group.

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College Ragging is a complex phenomenon that involves many factors. In my current research, I see it from an ecological perspective to identify the predictors and risk factors. Approaching the problem from an ecological perspective would allow for an assessment of the various environmental factors like childhood, family upbringing, peer and college culture, socio-cultural factors and personality and value system of students. The advantage of using this model would be ragging incidents will not be seen as an act of violence arising from an individual behaviour rather a complex phenomenon arising from many factors.

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