Honor States: Machismo Linked With Accidental Deaths, Study Finds
Too much machismo could get you killed, according to a new study.
In places where there is a strong sense of a "culture of honor" -- where there is great value placed in defending reputation -- there is a higher risk of accidental death.
This is most common in Southern and Western states including Wyoming, South Carolina and Texas, researchers said.
The sorts of places where this "culture of honor" exists are where, historically, there are dangers of rustling, low police presence and few natural resources, according to the Social Psychological and Personality Science study. The sort of people who believe in and abide by this "culture of honor" may respond more aggressively to triggers, researchers said.
Researchers from the University of Oklahoma compared rates of accidental death -- from over-exertion, drowning and car wrecks -- from 1999 to 2006 in "honor" states and "non-honor" states (such as New York, Wisconsin and Ohio).
They found that the accidental death rate in cities located in "honor" states is 14 percent higher than those in "non-honor" states, according to the study. And in rural areas in "honor" states, the accidental death rate is 19 percent higher than those in "non-honor" states.
To put that into perspective, that's 57.7 men who die in an accidental death for every 100,000 people in "honor" states, compared with 51.6 men in "non-honor" states, according to the research.
"If people are trying to demonstrate their toughness and bravery in these honor states, you ought to see a higher level of accidental deaths," study researcher Ryan Brown told LiveScience. "And you do, it turns out."
As many as 7,000 deaths could be attributed to accidental death because of a "culture of honor," researchers said.
So from where did the concept of "honor" states come about?
LiveScience explains that the culture comes from Scotch-Irish settlers who came to the Appalachian Mountains and the Carolinas in the 1700s, who already had an established honor culture in their homeland.
Today, southern and western states are considered "honor states," Brown said, while the Northeast, Midwest and Middle Atlantic States (plus Alaska and Hawaii) are not. The boundaries blur somewhat in the West, Brown said, where immigration patterns aren't as straightforward as in the North and South.