Dr. Glen Kercher, director of the Crime Victims' Institute at Sam Houston State University in Texas, said the Choking Game, also known as the Fainting Game, Pass Out or Space Monkey, is played individually or in groups and involves manually choking oneself or others.
People apply a ligature around the neck or a plastic bag over the head, placing heavy objects on the chest, or hyperventilating to attain a euphoric feeling -- this practice has led to several suffocation deaths in Texas and across the country, Kercher said.
"This study was undertaken to determine who is playing the game, in what context, and how they learned about it," Kercher said in a statement.
The survey involved 837 students at an undisclosed Texas university. Among the findings:
-- Out of the 16 percent who said they participated in the choking game, 72 percent reportedly played the game more than once.
-- Males were more likely to have played than females.
-- The average age when students first played the game was 14.
-- 90 percent of those who played the game first heard about it from peers.
-- Curiosity about the effects of the Choking Game was a primary motivation for playing the game.
-- Learning about the potential dangers of this activity served as a deterrent for the majority of non-participants.