IBS Newsletter

June 1997

Institute of Behavioral Science
University of Colorado


Mary Fran Myers was presented with the "Goddard-White" award at the annual conference of the Association of State Floodplain Managers in Little Rock, Arkansas, on April 30. Gilbert White participated in the presentation ceremony. The "Goddard-White" award is the highest honor the Association bestows on individuals. Established by the Association in 1984, the award is named after James E. Goddard and Gilbert F. White, pioneers in developing many of the basic concepts of flood hazard management. It is awarded to individuals who are highly instrumental in carrying forward the goals and objectives of floodplain management in the nation.

Program Activities

Environment and Behavior Program

 Charles Howe was in Geneva on April 21-25 to lead the "Freshwater Scarcity Working Group" as part of the Global International Waters Assessment of the United Nations Environment Programme. The current work is to design a proposal for a global water assessment to be carried out by regional teams and funded by the Global Environmental Facility.

Anthony Bebbington presented a talk entitled "Non-government Organizations-Government Relationship in Rural Development" at the Overseas Development Administration (ODA) on May 21 in London. The presentation was a summary of the last three years of Bebbington's research with a consortium of NGOs in the Andean region and Chile, which is supported by ODA. From June 15 to August 16 Bebbington will be in Bolivia for two projects: one dealing with the impacts of policy changes on local rural development; the other dealing with poverty, community, and gender in the North Potosi altiplano.

Denise Bebbington gave a talk at the London School of Economics on May 20 called "Seacabo La Plata: New Resource Mobilization Strategies for NGOs in the Andes." This summer she will travel to Peru on two projects. One project will deal with business strategies and sustainable development in an attempt to analyze recent evidence of change in business practices towards social and environmental investment. The other project deals with induced social capital formation in the Andes of Cusco.

Gilbert White attended the annual meeting of the National Academy of Sciences in Washington on April 27-28, and April 28-29 he participated in the meeting of the National Research Council's Board on Natural Disasters. On April 30 in Little Rock he took part in the semi-annual meeting of the Board of Trustees for the Association of State Floodplain Management Foundation. On May 1 he gave a talk to a plenary session of the Association of State Floodplain Managers on "Looking Ahead," a review of recent events and impending changes that might affect the future activities of floodplain managers. (This will be reported more fully when the published proceedings appear.) On May 2, he joined in a group invited by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to review and comment on action proposed in the report of the Federal Interagency Task Force on A Unified National Program for Floodplain Management, 1994.

 The Environment and Behavior Program's visitor for the summer of 1997 will be Dr. Brigitte Desaigues, Professor of Environmental Economics at the Sorbonne (Paris I). Dr. Desaigues has carried out important studies on environmental values in France, including one that resulted in Electricité de France changing its reservoir operating rules to provide more bird habitat. She and Professor Patrick Point (University of Bordeaux) are co-authors of the widely cited book Économie du Patrimoine Naturel which was written at the Environment and Behavior Program during the summers of 1989-1992.

Population Processes Program

Charles M. Becker was invited to give the keynote address to a conference entitled "The Economic Transformation of Russia: Views of a New Generation." The joint conference of the New Economics School, USIA, IREX, and the University of Maryland IRIS was held on May 23-24 in Zvenigorod, Moskovskaya Oblast (Moscow). The accompanying paper, "Enterprise Behavior in Post-Soviet Agribusiness and Manufacturing," attempts to design constrained optimization economic models which yield the current state of collapsing output in much of post-Soviet industry as a Nash equilibrium. The paper argues that institutional structures and incentive systems encourage "perverse" economic behavior. Consequently, reform of the economic environment is far more important for long run economic recovery than obtaining new inflows of capital, technology, or even managerial skills.

Problem Behavior Program

Richard Jessor was an invited participant in the conference "New Partnerships and Paradigms for Tobacco Prevention Research" organized by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and held at Sundance Resort in Utah, May 7-9. The Foundation has allocated eight million dollars to a new interdisciplinary effort to understand the etiology of tobacco use among adolescents and to develop more effective prevention initiatives. A research network modeled after the MacArthur Foundation networks is being established, and its studies will range from nicotine receptors in the brain to ethnographies of the natural history of smoking behavior. The purpose of the conference was to set the research agenda for the new network.

Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence

The Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence (CSPV) sponsored an executive briefing concerning "A Coordinated Violence Prevention Strategy: What Does This Mean for Colorado?" on April 4 at the Colorado Trust in Denver. A distinguished group of twenty five legislators, private foundation executives, and heads of state agencies were invited to discuss recent developments in violence prevention policy and practice statewide. Delbert Elliott and Kirk Williams reviewed how we might develop a more effective, coordinated violence prevention effort in the State.

 The CSPV has held three conferences for the Blueprints for Violence Prevention. On April 7, the focus was on the Midwestern Prevention Project, developed by Maryann Pentz of the University of California at Los Angeles. The Life Skills Training Program, developed by Dr. Gilbert Botvin of the Institute for Prevention Research, Cornell University Medical School, was the focus of the conference held on April 14. Benjamin Lattimore, the developer of Quantum Opportunities, and replicators of the program met on May 5 to discuss the development of the Quantum Blueprint. Delbert Elliott conducted the conferences with assistance from Sharon Mihalic, Landa Heys, and Jen Grotpeter.

On April 9 and 10, Delbert Elliott attended the California Public Safety Conference in San Diego, California. As the luncheon speaker, he presented "What Works in Violence Prevention: Research Evidence on Program Effectiveness." He also participated in a panel discussion on juvenile crime and gang violence from a systemic look at collaborative approaches.

Delbert Elliott held a workshop on Program Evaluations for the Violence Prevention Advisory Committee in Denver on May 14. The committee includes leaders from state agencies, community organizations, criminal justice programs, service organizations, law enforcement, and educators.

CSPV in Print

Youth Today featured an article about the Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence and its Blueprints project in the May/June issue entitled "Scattershot Youth Violence War Still Gropes for Answers," Volume 6, No. 3.


Rita Butterfield is a fourth year graduate student in the Social Psychology program in the Psychology Department and a Graduate Research Assistant in the Problem Behavior Program. She is a research assistant for Megan Lewis who is a recipient of the Social Control in Marital Relationships Grant from the National Institute of Mental Health. Since August 1996 Rita has been coordinating the research team for the Health Experiences in Marriage Study.

Close Relationships: Their Affect on Health Behavior

Our research examines the mechanisms by which close relationships affect health behaviors and health outcomes. Specifically, we have been looking at the role of direct social control, which is defined as the social influence of health related behaviors. In other words, we hypothesize that people involved in close relationships attempt to influence one another to engage in healthier practices and that these influence attempts do impact health behaviors. Although, at the same time, influence attempts might result in negative emotions (e.g., irritation or frustration).

I have been especially interested in how the specific strategies or tactics people use when they are attempting to influence the health behaviors and emotions of those who are close to them. From interviews with married couples and from some experimental work our research team has done, we have learned that more positive (direct and bilateral) tactics are related to less negative emotion and more behavior change. On the other hand, we have learned that more negative (indirect and unilateral) tactics are related to more negative emotion and less behavior change.

I also am interested in the factors that predict the tactics people choose. One important factor seems to be the nature of the health behavior. Our experimental data indicate, for example, that health behaviors with serious consequences (e.g., heavy smoking) elicit the use of more negative tactics. Also, gender seems to be an important factor. The literature on social influence would lead one to hypothesize that because women have less social power, they are more likely to use indirect and unilateral tactics. In focus groups that we conducted with married couples, however, women mentioned using certain direct tactics more often than their husbands. We may have seen this difference because health is an area over which wives may have some power or authority.

Currently, I am managing a longitudinal project that looks at these issues in married couples. Other graduate students in our research group are looking at similar issues in young adults with diabetes and in gay male couples.

Specifically, we will be able to assess how social control attempts at one point in time are related to health behaviors and emotions several months later.

Additionally, we will be able to look at how factors in marriage (commitment, satisfaction, and power dynamics) are related to the use of social control and its effects. A subset of these married couples is also reporting on the daily use of social control over a two week period, which will enable us to examine the antecedents and consequences of specific social control attempts.

Close relationships in general, and marriage in particular, are related to important beneficial health outcomes. Our research into social control will help us to better understand one mechanism that accounts for these benefits.


By federal law, all faculty, staff, and student research that involves any contact with human beings requires prior review and approval. All new protocols requiring regular review are due in the Graduate School office by 5:00 pm on the following dates:

Tuesday, June 24 Tuesday, August 5

Contact Ann Carrington in the Graduate School at 2-7401 for more information on regular, expedited, and exempt review and to obtain appropriate forms. Forms are also available in department offices. Be sure you are using the most current version of the form. You can also check their Web Site at http://condor.colorado.edu/caprh/HumanResearchCommittee.html.

Dennis S. Mileti
Assessment of research and applications on natural hazards
NSF 6/1/97 - 5/31/98 $28,620 supplement

Dennis S. Mileti
A clearinghouse on natural hazards research and applications
NSF 6/1/97 - 5/31/98 $47,770 supplement

Andrei Rogers
 Spatial redistribution of the foreign-born population
NIH 5/1/96 - 4/30/98 $76,825 continuation

David H. Huizinga
Understanding delinquency: A longitudinal, multi-disciplinary study of developmental patterns
OJJDP 10/1/96 - 9/30/98 $360,000 continuation

 Fred C. Pampel
Aging, inequality, and welfare state regimes
NSF 5/1/97 - 4/30/98 $38,954 new

Upcoming Colloquia

There is an online listing of upcoming and recent colloquia.

June 1997 IBS Newsletter

Sugandha Brooks and Christine Weeber, Newsletter Editors

Institute of Behavioral Science

Richard Jessor, Director

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

(303) 492-8147