IBS Newsletter

October 1999


Institute of Behavioral Science
University of Colorado


Program Activities

Population Processes Program

Charles M. Becker, at a seminar sponsored by the InterAmerican Development Bank, in Washington, DC, gave a talk entitled "Pension Reform Strategies for Latin America," on September 17. The seminar focused on the impact of demographic change for disability insurance and defined benefit pension schemes in Latin America.

In Print

Richard G. Rogers, Robert A. Hummer, and Charles B. Nam. 2000. Living and Dying in the U.S.A.: Behavioral, Health, and Social Differentials of Adult Mortality. San Diego: Academic Press. 354 pp. The authors use the recently released National Health Interview Survey and the National Death Index to make a definitive statement about demographics and mortality. By surveying demographic and sociocultural characteristics associated with mortality, soicoeconomic effects, health-related conditions, and health status, they reveal connections among several factors related to mortality chances. Easily understood and cited, their study emphasizes the statistical methods underlying their revelations and invites readers to duplicate their results.

Environment and Behavior Program

Natural Hazards Center

Jacquelyn Monday and Mary Fran Myers presented one of five invited papers during the Public Entity Risk Institute's Internet symposium, "Dealing with Disaster" from October 4-8, ( http://www.riskinstitute.org/docs/symposium.html). Their paper, "Coping with Disasters by Building Local Resiliency," shows that the increasingly costly and complex natural disasters of the last decade are the result of ingrained human attitudes and activities that actually foster risk-taking; subsidize hazardous development; treat the natural environment as a problem to be solved; and take a narrow, short-term view of the world. Monday and Myers suggest that a shift in focus, especially at the local level, can change this situation. By incorporating the ideals of sustainability into their ongoing development plans, policies, and actions, both before and after disasters, communities can minimize disaster losses and simultaneously enhance their economic viability, preserve the health of their natural environment, and improve the quality of life for their residents.

Dennis S. Mileti presented a keynote paper, "Designing Future Disasters," to the 6th Aon Reinsurance Hazards Conference, "The Changing Risk Landscape's Implications for Insurance Risk Management" in Gold Coast, Australia on August 12. This paper addresses the potential for increased dollar loss disasters in the United States and reviews the potential links between insurance and the mitigation of vulnerability.

Mileti also presented three keynote speeches recently. On August 25, in Melborne, Australia, he presented, "Integrating Hazards Management and Sustainable Development," to the Australian Emergency Management Agency's Annual State Workshop on Emergency Management. His speech linked natural hazard mitigation and preparedness to principles of sustainable community development. On September 8, in Salt Lake City, he presented "Sustainable Mitigation Approaches for Emergency Management," at the Governor's Annual Conference on Disaster and Emergency Preparedness, "Emergency Management: The Challenge of the New Century." This speech outlined the key findings and policy recommendation of the second national assessment of research and applications on natural hazards and linked those findings to possible practical actions in the state of Utah. On September 19, he presented "Disasters by Design," at the Asia-Pacific Disaster Conference '99, "Advances in Technology: Linking Technology with Operational Requirements." The conference, sponsored by the Center of Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanization Assistance, U.S. Department of Defense, was held in Kauai, Hawaii on September 19. His speech summarized the major action recommendations from the recently completed assessment of natural hazards project.

Mileti participated in the Annual Advisory Board Meeting of the Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC). SCEC is a consortium of multiple universities, from across the U.S., who have joined together under the umbrella of a National Science Foundation Center for Excellence to explore the potential for future earthquakes in southern California. One goal of SCEC is to distribute information to the people in society who might benefit from their findings. Mileti's role on the Advisory Board is to provide guidance on SCEC's education and outreach program. The meeting was held in Palm Springs, California on September 27-29.

In Print

Mileti, Dennis S. 1999. "The Challenge for a Safer 21st Century." Pages 290-293 in Jon Ingleton (Ed.) Natural Disaster Management. Leicester, England: Tudor Rose. This chapter outlines the major cultural shifts needed to design local communities that are safer from natural disasters in the next century.

Problem Behavior Program

Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence

On September 13, the Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence (CSPV) hosted a school safety training with Dr. Ron Stephens from the National School Safety Center. The training was held in response to the new CSPV Initiative, Safe Communities Safe Schools. CSPV, along with the CU Outreach Committee, sponsored the first of a three-part teleconference on "Breaking the Cycle of Violence." The broadcast, "Acting on Early Warning Signs," was presented on September 21. Following the presentation Elliott facilitated a discussion with a panel of education and community professionals. The next two parts of the series, "Comprehensive Prevention Planning" and "Containing Crisis: Managing School and Community Emergencies," will be held on October 19 and November 30, respectively, at the Coors Events Center.

Delbert S. Elliott presented best violence prevention practices, including "Blueprints for Violence Prevention Programs That Work" at a luncheon for the Citizens Crime Commission, held in Portland, Oregon on September 1 and at the Arizona Prevention Resource Center Policy Board Meeting, in Phoenix, Arizona on September 8. On September 15 the Boulder Press Club invited Elliott to be a keynote speaker at their meeting at the Broker Inn. Elliott spoke about the causes and measures of prevention, and specifically on the Blueprints for Violence Prevention. Elliott was invited to be a presenter at the Life History Research Society meeting September 23-25 in Kauai, Hawaii. The theme was "Multiple Pathways through the Life Span: Implication for Research and Practice," sponsored by the Families and Communities Research Group at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Sharon Mihalic presented "Blueprints for Violence Prevention Programs That Work" on September 10, at the workshop "Y2K Kids: Youth in the Next Millennium." The workshop was sponsored by the Pikes Peak Region of the National Association of Social Workers, Colorado Chapter.

Landa Heys and Tiffany Shaw attended an organization and planning meeting for a group to address the prevention of violence against women in Boulder County. The multi-disciplinary Boulder action group is made up of violence prevention practitioners who will work to address the varying issues surrounding violence against women. The meeting was held at the Boulder Safehouse Outreach Center on September 9.


BITS AND BYTES FROM SSDAC

Many IBS researchers use statistical software on a central UNIX server named rastro. This computer is being replaced by a machine named dino, a SUN workstation. All statistical software on rastro will be available and there will be some enhancements such as a direct interface between SUDAAN and SAS. Software from another workstation, named eddie, is also being moved to dino and some researchers will benefit from the consolidation. Also, dino is faster. Although dino uses a different version of UNIX than rastro, Solaris rather than AIX, existing applications using SPSS, SAS, Stata, etc., should be able to be transferred without difficulty. Compiled programs, however, will have to be recompiled. Those who use rastro for e-mail will also need to migrate to one of the primary ITS mail servers such as spot or ucsu. Contact the Data Analysis Center for assistance with this migration.

It continues to be important to keep anti-virus software up-to-date. Contact the Social Science Data Analysis Center for assistance with software patches or updates and for further information about safe computing.


In Focus

Health-Compromising Sexual Behavior: Why and What Can Be Done to Decrease Such Behavior

Angela D. Bryan joined the IBS Professional Staff in August of this year. She completed her undergraduate studies at UCLA, and received her Ph.D. in 1997 from Arizona State University. Most recently, she was a Research Assistant Professor at the University of Connecticut in the Center for HIV Intervention and Prevention. Bryan has interests in social and health psychology broadly defined, but much of her current work has focused on the determinants of risky sexual behavior in high-risk populations and on the design, implementation, and evaluation of interventions to decrease such behavior.

My basic social psychological interests in attraction, romantic partnership, and sexual behavior, combined with a fascination about why individuals knowingly engage in health-compromising behaviors, led me to the study of risky sexual behavior. Currently, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) including HIV/AIDS continue to exist in epidemic proportions. Young people are particularly at risk, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that over 3 million young people contract an STD annually, and over 60% of all infections occur in young people under the age of 25. Despite high levels of knowledge about STD/HIV risk and prevention in virtually all segments of the population, individuals continue to engage in risky sexual behavior; that is, penetrative anal or vaginal intercourse without the use of a condom.

My overall program of research focuses on the use of established theories of health behavior as sources for common psychosocial determinants of condom use across populations. Within a given risk group, I then tailor these general models through the inclusion of population-specific precursors of general model constructs. From these tailored models, population-specific interventions are then designed, targeting the determinants of condom use behavior found to be important for that population. For example, my masters degree work focused on the design, implementation, and evaluation of a condom promotion intervention with college women. The model of condom use and the intervention based on that model included specific issues relevant to the female experience of condom use such as perceived control over the sexual encounter (e.g., being able to tell a partner no) and acceptance of sexuality (e.g., lack of guilt about being sexually active). A model for college males, in contrast, included constructs important to the male experience of condom use, such as sexual self-control (e.g., being able to halt sexual activity "in the heat of the moment" to apply a condom) and male-specific condom attitudes (e.g., that condoms cause a loss of erection).

Though I have conducted prevention research with intravenous drug users, men who have sex with men, and individuals who are HIV+, my current work focuses on incarcerated adolescents as a particularly high risk subset of young people. In comparison to the general adolescent population, incarcerated adolescents are younger at first intercourse, have higher rates of anal intercourse, a greater number of sex partners, and lower rates of condom use. Engaging in these risky sexual behaviors results in high rates of unintended pregnancy and STDs. My model development research with incarcerated adolescents suggests that self-esteem and future orientation may each play a role in the determination of their condom use behavior. My immediate goals are to establish working relationships with the juvenile justice system in Colorado. I hope to obtain grant support to conduct a longitudinal study of condom use and other risk behaviors among incarcerated adolescents by following them up after their release from incarceration facilities. Based on this work, I further hope to develop a theoretically based pre-release STD/HIV prevention intervention to be evaluated in a randomized controlled trial among incarcerated adolescents. Behavioral outcomes comparing intervention to control participants will then be obtained post-release.

My work on the psychosocial mechanisms involved in condom use behavior in various populations has led to a recent invitation to a Health Cognitions Conference sponsored by the National Science Foundation and National Cancer Institutes to be held in Capitva, Florida on November 19-21, 1999.


RESEARCH PROPOSALS FUNDED

Environment and Behavior Program

Charles W. Howe and John Wiener
An exploratory assessment of the potential for improved water management by increased use of climate information in three western states
COMM, NOAA, 08/01/99 - 07/31/00, new, $72,187

Dennis S. Mileti
A clearinghouse on natural hazards research and applications
NSF, 09/01/99 - 09/30/00, cont, $542,850

Population Processes Program

Richard G. Rogers
Collaborative research: Income and assets, race/ethnicity and U.S. adult mortality
NSF, 09/15/99 - 08/31/01, new, $75,368

Problem Behavior Program

Delbert S. Elliott
Comprehensive evaluation plan: training and technical assistance
State of Colorado, 09/01/99 - 06/30/00, $71,710


RESEARCH PROPOSALS SUBMITTED

Problem Behavior Program

Richard Jessor and Frances M. Costa
Adolescent risk behavior and development in China and the U.S.: A cross-national comparative study of risk and protection
WT Grant Foundation, 02/01/00 - 01/31/03, new, $408,428

Population Processes Program

Andrei Rogers
Immigration and the regional demographics of the elderly
HHS, 07/01/00 - 08/31/02, new, $251,411

Political and Economic Change Program

John V. O'Loughlin, Edward S. Greenberg, Richard Jessor, Jane Menken, and Lynn A. Staeheli
IGERT: Globalization and human well-being
NSF, 01/01/00 - 01/31/04, new, $2,683,727 Walter J. Stone
Collaborative research on the Reform party and major party change
NSF, 03/01/00 - 06/30/02, new, $83,534


Upcoming Colloquia

Both the Environment and Behavior Program and the Political and Economic Change Program (a joint endeavor between the GAD program and the Political Science Department) are re-instating their colloquia workshops. These colloquia will be held in the Conference Room of IBS #3 at 1424 Broadway, usually on Mondays or Fridays at noon. Email postings will be made to keep you up-to-date with their schedules. Please email us at ibs@colorado.edu if you would like to be included on these mailings.

There is an online listing of upcoming and recent colloquia.


Institute of Behavioral Science

Richard Jessor, Institute Director


IBS Newsletter

Sugandha Brooks, Newsletter Editor
Julie Klauss, Assistant Editor
Richard L. Cook, Web Site Coordinator


Institute of Behavioral Science
University of Colorado at Boulder
Boulder, CO 80309-0483

(303) 492-8147

IBS@Colorado.EDU