R E S E A R C H   N O T E S

In a new study of conservative Protestant child discipline, co-author Bradford Wilcox, of Princeton's Center for Research on Child Wellbeing, finds that although these parents advocate corporal punishment, they are less likely to yell at their pre-schoolers and school-age children. Wilcox says the results cast doubt on assertions that conservative Protestant parents are abusive and authoritarian, as high rates of parental yelling have been associated with abusive parenting and child-development problems.

Despite the use of corporal punishment, Wilcox has found in previous research that conservative Protestant parenting -- exemplified by best-selling child-rearing guides such as "Dare to Discipline" by James Dobson -- advances a style that is warm and expressive, even as it stresses discipline and control.

"In the 1990s, a number of scholars accused conservative Protestant parents of being abusive because they endorse corporal punishment," Wilcox said. "This study, along with my earlier work, shows that these parents are also less likely to yell at their children and more likely to praise and hug their children."

The study was co-authored by John P. Bartkowski at Mississippi State University. It is available [in PDF format] at < opr.princeton.edu/~wbwilcox/ religionparentalyelling.pdf> and was published in the September issue of Social Forces.

It's not surprising that -- on average -- rich people live longer than poor people, with access to better diets, health care and other services. But a new study by Professor Christina Paxson and graduate student Douglas Miller suggests that your life span also is affected by how your income compares to the incomes of others in the community.

Paxson, a professor of economics and public affairs, directs the Center for Health and Wellbeing in Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School, which brings together the interdisciplinary study of health and health policy. Her research examined the relationship between mortality and relative income at the state level -- that is, whether an individual's life expectancy is affected by the average income of others living in the same state. For some groups, it was. Specifically, controlling for their own income, groups that are poorer relative to others who live in the same state are at higher risk of dying. The relationship was especially strong for working-age black men.

"The argument here is that it's good to be richer than those around you," Paxson said. "The evidence supports the idea that you're better off not being the poorest kid on the block" -- whatever block that is.

Many questions remain, Paxson said. "There are so many different theories as to why relative income matters," she said. For example, incomes of others in an area can affect the availability of services and goods. Future research will focus on the causes of death and issues such as social isolation and psychosocial stress, she said, noting that a growing body of evidence points to the link between psychosocial stress and health problems.

Researchers plan to do a similar analysis at the city level. Paxson believes the results will be even more informative.

Paxson and Miller's paper, "Relative Income, Race, and Mortality," is available online [in PDF format] at <www.wws.princeton.edu/ ~rpds/relincome.pdf>.

December 4, 2000
Vol. 90, No. 11
previous   archives   next


Page 1
Agencies deliver experience along with the morning paper
Memory formation clearer

Page 2
Clothing donations needed
By the numbers / United Way campaign
Spotlight / People / Obituary

Page 3
Ahmed studies differences, seeks unity
Research notes

Page 4-5
Calendar of events

Page 6
Board names six new full professors
Trustees promote, reappoint

Page 7
New tigers on the prowl

Page 8
Nassau notes

The Bulletin is published weekly during the academic year, except during University breaks and exam weeks, by the Office of Communications, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544. Permission is given to adapt, reprint or excerpt material from the Bulletin for use in other media.

Deadline. In general, the copy deadline for each issue is the Friday 10 days in advance of the Monday cover date. The deadline for the Bulletin that covers Jan. 8-28 is Friday, Dec. 29. A complete publication schedule is available at deadlines or by calling (609) 258-3601.

Subscriptions. The Bulletin is distributed free to faculty, staff and students. Others may subscribe to the Bulletin for $24 for the academic year (half price for current Princeton parents and people over 65). Send a check to Office of Communications, Stanhope Hall, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544.

Editor: Ruth Stevens
Staff writer: Yvonne Chiu Hays
Calendar editor: Carolyn Geller
Contributing writers: Marilyn Marks, Caroline Moseley, Steven Schultz
Photographer: Denise Applewhite
Design: Mahlon Lovett,
Laurel Masten Cantor
Web edition: Mahlon Lovett