Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department / School

Rural Sociology

First Advisor

Donna J. Hess


There are two purposes of this research. The first purpose is to assess the presence of alienation in a sample of rural youth. The second purpose is to assess the relationship between the occurrence of alienation among rural youth and their plans for out- migration. The problem of concern in this project is addressed in terms of three questions. First, are rural youth alienated? Second, if alienation exists among rural youth, who is alienated? Third, if alienation exists among rural youth, does this experience relate to migration plans? Seeman's conceptualization of alienation as powerlessness, normlessness and isolation is applied in a theoretical framework derived primarily from the work of Durkheim and Merton. Alienation is observed among a sample of rural South Dakota youth and is found to be associated with several variables. Major findings are these : (1) rural female high school students are more alienated than male high school students; (2) those with high GPA's show the higher level of alienation; (3) highly alienated rural high school students are more likely to have plans for out-migration than less alienated students; (4) alienation accounts for little of the variance in rural youth's migration plans; and (5) alienation is a more meaningful factor in the plans of female and of students who report lower GPA's.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Alienation (Social psychology)
Migration, Internal
Rural youth -- South Dakota




South Dakota State University