Student Research Projects

Misbehavior Among Virginia Wesleyan College Students

Student Tiffany Tuggle
Brooke Powers
Brendan Dibari
Adam Nycz
Faculty Mentor(s)
Department Criminal Justice
Course Social Research


The purpose of this research was to investigate misbehavior among college student athletes and college student non-athletes. Research has suggested that college students engage in various forms of misbehavior including in-class cheating and texting, plagiarism, drinking/underage drinking, and fighting; yet little research examines this relationship among college athletes and non-athletes. In order to investigate the relationship between athletic status and misbehavior, a self-administered survey using convenience sampling was distributed to 75 students attending VWC, which asked about misbehavior in the classroom, anywhere on-campus, and anywhere off-campus. Sixty out of the 75 students returned the surveys, 26 being athletes and 34 being non-athletes. Descriptive statistics revealed that the majority of students have not been in trouble while in college. When examining those who have been, the results revealed that nine students were in trouble in the classroom, nine students were in trouble on-campus, and one student was in trouble off-campus. Further, results revealed that athletes were more likely to get in trouble for in class misbehavior, such as plagiarism, texting and etc. and were more likely to get in trouble for on campus crime such as drinking, vandalism, fighting, etc. This relationship is significant in bivariate analyses using cross-tabs. Interestingly, only one participant, a non-athlete, had been in trouble for off-campus crime. These findings are important to the members of Virginia Wesleyan because it shows that most students are well behaved at VWC. However, it does reveal that athletes get into trouble more often than non-athletes. This research could be used to help prevent and improve the misbehavior among college students, particularly athletes, so that college misbehavior, in general, can be decreased and VWC can be a safer environment.