Mervin Smucker. A Cross-Cultural Comparison of Amish and non-Amish children’s attitudes towards their families.

In a sample of over two-hundred  rural school children in grades four through eight in southeastern Pennsylvania, Amish fourth graders viewed their families on a Semantic Differential Family Rating Scale more negatively than same-aged non-Amish fourth graders. By contrast, Amish seventh and eighth grade children viewed their families significantly more positive than non-Amish eighth grade children. These findings suggest that problems of familial and cultural adjustment may begin, and end, earlier in life for the Amish child than for the non-Amish child. It is conceivable that the young pre-pubescent Amish child is somewhat more critical and resentful of the work demands placed upon him by his family than the same-aged non-Amish child.  However, by age fifteen when the Amish child is finished with his formal schooling – a time when many American adolescents feel overwhelmed by family, peer, and societal pressures – the Amish child may have already resolved his “crisis” vis-à-vis his social environment.

Mervin Smucker