The first quit occurred in Survivor: Pearl Islands. Following the controversial Outcast twist on Day 19, which led to both tribes eliminating a member, Osten Taylor, despite being physically fit, became the first person to quit the game, due to the physical strain on his body. His final words were not aired, and his torch was not included in the Rites of Passage but was instead lain down at the Tribal Council site.
Survivor: All-Stars was the first season in which two contestants quit. Around Day 9, Jenna Morasca began experiencing regret over leaving her mother, who was dying of cancer, to play Survivor. She elected to leave the game at the Immunity Challenge. She rushed to her mother's bedside, and eight days later, her mother passed away. On Day 13, at the Immunity Challenge, a naked Richard Hatch rubbed himself against Susan Hawk, leaving her distraught. Over the subsequent days, she grew more angered and embarrassed by the incident. On Day 17, when host Jeff Probst made a comment about the incident, Susan began an impassioned speech about the situation, deriding Jeff for making light of the situation and quit the game.
In Survivor: Palau, Janu Tornell became the first contestant to quit the game and continue to participate as a member of the jury. After being ostracized and ridiculed by her tribe, Janu elected to leave the game on her own terms during the Tribal Council on Night 27, claiming she had gained everything she wanted from the experience. Her exit prevented Koror's plan to vote out Stephenie LaGrossa.
In Survivor: Fiji, Gary Stritesky reported feeling dizzy and experiencing chest pain, fearing he had cracked a rib during a Reward Challenge. Medical was called in to evaluate his condition. He was deemed to be fit to continue in the game, although his tribemates encouraged him to speak up if he continued to struggle. On Day 10, he suffered vertigo due to an insect allergy and pulled himself from the game.
In Survivor: Micronesia, Kathy Sleckman suffered a mental breakdown brought on by isolation and paranoia. She quit the game on Day 19. She has subsequently stated that her breakdown was triggered by withdrawal from her Zoloft medication and that she had intended to use a machete to cut off one of her fingers to instigate a medical evacuation.
Survivor: Nicaragua was the first season in which two contestants quit at the same time, when NaOnka Mixon and Kelly Shinn quit on Day 28, with only eleven days left in the game. After heavy rain, NaOnka expressed a desire to quit at the conclusion of a Reward Challenge, despite her team winning the challenge. Jeff Probst instead scheduled a Tribal Council that night for her to reconsider. NaOnka went on reward, while Kelly S. returned to camp after stating that she too had had enough and planned to quit along with NaOnka. Despite their tribemates' and Jeff's arguments for remaining in the game, both women quit at Tribal Council. Due to the precedence set in Palau, NaOnka and Kelly S. continued as members of the jury. Their torches, however, were propped beside the exit area, to remind the two girls of their decision to quit.
In Survivor: Philippines, Dana Lambert experienced severe stomach pain and nausea. On Day 12, although medical cleared her health for the next twelve hours, denying her an evacuation, Dana insisted she was too sick to continue and elected to leave the game.
In Survivor: Blood vs. Water, Colton Cumbie felt alone in his Galang tribe and being separated from his fiancé, Caleb Bankston, and he felt like he had no chance of winning due to being on the outs of his tribe and no one talking strategy with him. He then decided to quit the game minutes before the Day 7 Redemption Island duel.
In Survivor: Cagayan, Lindsey Ogle got into an argument with Trish Hegarty after the events at Tribal Council that lead to Cliff Robinson's blindside. Fearing she might end up physically assaulting Trish, Lindsey decided to pull herself out of the game on Night 14.
In Survivor: San Juan del Sur, Julie McGee was feeling depressed at the merge, seeing the remaining complete loved ones while hers, boyfriend John Rocker, had already been eliminated days prior. Combined with her hasty decision to keep the tribe's trail mix for herself during the merge feast, in which she was caught, her loneliness and guilt led her to quit the game on Day 18.
In Survivor: David vs. Goliath, Bi Nguyen had previously injured her medial collateral ligament, from which she was still recovering during her time in the game. During an Immunity Challenge, Bi further injured her MCL, leading medical to wrap it in cloth to help. The following day, Day 10, as the tribes gathered for a Tribe Switch, Bi decided to pull herself from the game to prevent it from worsening.
Due to the nature of the Edge of Extinction, quitting occurred again in Survivor: Edge of Extinction. After being voted out, the contestants were given a choice as to whether or not to live on the Edge of Extinction or to leave the game for good. If a contestant chose to go to the Edge of Extinction, there was a mast with a sail present. At any point, they could choose to raise the sail, signaling that they would like to quit the game. After losing the first re-entry challenge on Day 17, Keith Sowell and Wendy Diaz chose to raise the sail once they returned to the Edge of Extinction, thus quitting the game and relinquishing their spots on the jury.
In some situations, a contestant has requested that their tribe vote them out of the game. Although not officially a quit, the circumstances surrounding the vote result in the public, or production, perceiving the incident as 'quitting the game'. Usually, this is successful in getting said player eliminated, with the exception of Shawna Mitchell who was denied her wish in Survivor: The Amazon when the tribe elected to vote out JoAnna Ward instead.
In Survivor: Palau, an ankle injury was sustained by Jeff Wilson when he tripped on a coconut. After Ulong lost the following challenge, Jeff asked his tribe to vote him out as he feared he was holding back his already-struggling team. Despite some skepticism, he was voted out.
Also in Palau, Ian Rosenberger voluntarily dropped out of the Final Immunity Challenge, asking eventual challenge and season winner Tom Westman to vote him out, as a sincere attempt to reconcile with both Tom and Katie Gallagher; the two had been on bad terms with Ian since Ian had attempted to blindside Tom the previous night. Tom complied and, at an impromptu Tribal Council, Ian became the final member of the jury.
After the Malakal tribe lost the first Immunity Challenge in Survivor: Micronesia, Jon Dalton stated that his heart was not in the game and that he wanted to return home to his expectant girlfriend, asking his tribe to vote him out. His request was granted and he was unanimously voted out on Day 3.
In Survivor: Gabon, G.C. Brown became increasingly disengaged from the game, culminating in him disappearing immediately before an Immunity Challenge. When Fang lost said challenge, he asked his tribe to vote him out, and they granted his request on Day 15.
Host Jeff Probst is known to initially express disgust for quitters of the game and has stated that contestants who quit will never be asked to return (with the exception of Jenna Morasca, as he felt her reasoning for quitting was justified).
The controversial double quit in Survivor: Nicaragua led to an amendment to the Survivor Rulebook. Probst revealed at the Nicaragua Reunion Show that, in subsequent seasons, if a contestant chooses to quit the game during the jury phase, the producers will deliberate whether or not the contestant will participate on the jury. The producers may also hold the right to deny the quitter's consolation prize.
- There have been a total of 15 quits on Survivor.
- Osten Taylor is the first male (and first player overall) to quit.
- Jenna Morasca is the first female and the first returning player to quit.
- Though she did not ultimately do so, Shawna Mitchell was the first player to be shown considering quitting.