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News Briefs

October 12, 2003
Contact: 

Joshua Susskind, assistant professor of psychology, (319) 273-7251, Joshua.Susskind@uni.edu
Sue Joslyn, professor of epidemiology and chair of the Division of Health Promotion & Education, (319) 273-6155 (office); (319) 273-2654 (department office)Lois Lindell, assistant director, UNI Center for Economic Education, (319) 273-2952

Halloween frights are different for each stage of childhood

Every year, just about this time, retailers haul out the jack-o-lanterns and pointy witches' hats, and start decorating their stores. Hollywood releases a new slasher film, and screams fill the air. Most of it is all in fun but, says Josh Susskind, assistant professor of psychology at UNI, it could still be too frightening for children. He explains that different situations can scare different kinds of children, and parents should be alert.

Children at the preschool to early elementary age are typically frightened by perceptual things. So something that looks scary is going to be very scary for them. Older children, 9 to 11 years old, are more frightened by negative behaviors. 'Real-world behaviors and characters, like those you see in a slasher film, scare them,' explains Susskind. 'It's easy for the child to believe it could happen to them. It doesn't even have to be something they saw in a movie; it could be the evening news.'

Contacts:

Joshua Susskind, assistant professor of psychology, (319) 273-7251, Joshua.Susskind@uni.edu

Gwenne Culpepper, University Marketing & Public Relations, (319) 273-2761





UNI prof finds differences in breast cancer occurrence between races

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Sue Joslyn, professor of epidemiology at the University of Northern Iowa, says early detection is essential to survival of this disease that she has been studying for a number of years. Joslyn uses data from the National Cancer Institute that includes several locations throughout the United States, including Iowa. She has been studying the patterns of the disease, looking at differences in breast cancer between black women and white women, and also in women over the age of 65 years.

'While black women are less likely to get breast cancer,' says Joslyn, 'once they get it, they are more likely to die from it. I'm interested in trying to figure out that puzzle.'

She also looks at risk factors and factors associated with survival. For instance, she says women in rural Iowa counties tend to have a lower survival rate which may be related to more limited access to health care.

Contacts:

Sue Joslyn, professor of epidemiology and chair of the Division of Health Promotion & Education, (319) 273-6155 (office); (319) 273-2654 (department office)

Vicki Grimes, Office of University Marketing & Public Relations, (319) 273-2761





Fiscal irresponsibility causes increase in bankruptcies, says UNI economist

For the past ten years, personal bankruptcies nationwide have been on the rise and recent reports say that they are now at an all-time high. In 1990, there were 718,000 personal bankruptcies; in 2001, there were 1.45 million. Lois Lindell, assistant director of the UNI Center for Economic Education, blames credit cards. 'What's being reflected is a preponderance of credit card offers that have a lot of people getting in over their heads without realizing it.'

She said other contributing factors include rising unemployment, increasing medical expenses, and companies who make it attractive to file for bankruptcy by promising that doing so will completely eliminate debt.

Lindell said there are indications that the U.S. Congress will soon try to revive legislation that will eliminate certain bankruptcy options for many people. 'If that happens, it will become much more difficult to file. You won't be able to just wipe the slate clean; you'll have to have in place some kind of repayment plan for your debts.' And that, she said, is a good thing. 'It'll make people more responsible.'

Contact:

Lois Lindell, assistant director, UNI Center for Economic Education, (319) 273-2952

Gwenne Culpepper, University Marketing & Public Relations, (319) 273-2761