Living dangerously: Culture of honor, risk-taking, and the non-randomness of ‘accidental’ deaths”
This study reveals that men sometimes prove themselves by taking risks that demonstrate their toughness and bravery. Putting yourself in peril might establish manliness, but it can also lead to high rates of accidental death, particularly among men who live in states with a “culture of honor,” A culture of honor puts a high value on the defense of reputation—sometimes with violence. It can develop in environments with historically few natural resources, danger of rustling, and low police presence. States with strong cultures of honor in the U.S. are in the South and West, such as South Carolina, Texas and Wyoming.
People who most believe in a culture of honor—who agree that “A real man doesn’t let other people push him around” or that aggression is a reasonable response to being insulted—told the researchers they were quite willing to engage in risky behaviors, such as bungee jumping or gambling away a week’s wages. Exposing yourself to potentially deadly situations is proof of strength and courage, and because this proof is such a concern for people living in cultures of honor, they suffer from a higher rate of accidental fatalities.