Culture of honor and accidental deaths

17 08 2011

The textbook we’re using for Social Psychology this term is written by Golovich, Keltner and Nisbett. Richard Nisbett, along with Dov Cohen identified the effect of culture of honor on aggression. This was previously thought to only affect death rates due to homocides, but the APS blog pointed me toward a CBS News coverage of a new study in press at Social Psychological and Personality Science looks at accidental death rates in culture of honor states and finds that the rates are higher in culture of honor states, particularly in rural areas. It also looked at individuals (college students at the University of Oklahoma), and found their endorsement of the ideologies related to culture of honor states predicted risky behaviors, even among women. Here’s the abstract:

“Two studies examined the hypothesis that the culture of honor would be associated with heightened risk taking, presumably because risky behaviors provide social proof of strength and fearlessness. As hypothesized, Study 1 showed that honor states in the United States exhibited higher rates of accidental deaths among Whites (but not non-Whites) than did nonhonor states, particularly in nonmetropolitan areas. Elevated accidental deaths in honor states appeared for both men and women and remained when the authors controlled for a host of statewide covariates (e.g., economic deprivation, cancer deaths, temperature) and for non-White deaths. Study 2, likewise, showed that people who endorsed honor-related beliefs reported greater risk taking tendencies, independent of age, sex, self-esteem, and the big five.”

Barnes, C. D., Brown, R. P., & Tamborski, M. (in press). Living dangerously: culture of honor, risk-taking, and the nonrandomness of ‘accidental’’ deaths. Social Psychological and Personality Science. doi: 10.1177/1948550611410440