NORMAN, Okla., Aug. 16 (UPI) — U.S. researchers say people in so-called culture of honor states have a greater tendency than others to react to reputation threats with hostility and violence.
Collin Barnes, Ryan Brown and Michael Tamborski of the University of Oklahoma say a culture of honor puts a high value on the defense of reputation — sometimes with violence — and this can develop in environments with historically few natural resources, danger of rustling and low police presence.
States with strong cultures of honor in the United States are in the South and West — such as South Carolina, Texas and Wyoming — while non-honor states are mostly in the Northeast and upper Midwest, such as New York, Wisconsin and Ohio, the researchers say.
The researchers compared the rates of accidental death — by drowning, car wrecks, overexertion — and found that people in honor states had significantly higher accidental death rates than did people in non-honor states, especially among white men.
The study, published in Social Psychological and Personality Science, found although honor states had a 14 percent higher accidental death rate in the cities, they had a 19 percent higher rate of accidental death in more rural areas, compared to non-honor states.
More than 7,000 deaths a year can be attributed to risk-taking associated with the culture of honor in the United States, the study said.