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Elder, Glen H., Jr.; King, Valarie; & Conger, Rand D. (1996). Intergenerational Continuity and Change in Rural Lives: Historical and Developmental Insights. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 19(2), 433-455.


Sudden forms of drastic social change have attracted the attention of developmentalists in recent years through their compelling human consequences. Examples include economic depressions, wars, and political transformations. This study focuses on a less visible but no less profound social change and its developmental implications for children, the declining rural population. Using a sample of Iowa fathers (USA) who grew up on farms, we compared the family experience and children of men who followed either the path of farming or of nonfarm employment. Farm children experience greater social inter-dependency with other family members, and this reinforces their feeling of social significance-they mattered for others and also shared responsibility for others. As might be expected, farm youth acquired stronger attachments to their local community and family which were expressed in subsequent agricultural activities and goals. The antecedents and correlates of rural preferences begin to tell the story of rural farm continuity and change in the next generation.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

International Journal of Behavioral Development


Elder, Glen H., Jr.
King, Valarie
Conger, Rand D.