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Sue T. Wika

Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department / School

Rural Sociology


The social class-parental values model of Melvin Kohn (1969) was applied in a rural context. To this point, Kohn’s model had not been explicitly tested in a rural scenario. Kohn’s model stresses the influence of social class conditions, particularly occupational conditions and education, on parental values. The aspects of occupational life deemed of particular importance are: closeness of supervision, routinization of work, and substantive complexity of work. Kohn found these three occupational conditions and education to be related to valuation of self-direction/conformity. Using interviews, the study sought to determine the nature of contemporary dairy farming and the parental values of dairy farmers. Through a partial ranking of thirteen parental values, dairy farmers were found to more highly value conformity. The other occupational conditions and education were not significantly related to the valuation of self-direction/conformity. This research suggests that the measures of the occupational conditions of dairy farming may need to be extended and refined. In addition, it suggests that variables other than occupational conditions and education may influence parental values. The investigation of the rural “social milieu” and farmers’ subjective perception of their work are example of research areas which may provide additional insight.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Kohn, Melvin L., 1928 -- Criticism and interpretation

Parenting -- Models

Social classes

Dairy farmers -- Attitudes



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University