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The Effect of Contact on Attitudes Toward Old Order Amish1


  • 1

    The authors contributed equally and are listed alphabetically.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to William M. McGuigan, Pennsylvania State University–Shenango Campus, 309D Sharon Hall, 147 Shenango Avenue, Sharon, PA 16146. E-mail:


This investigation was guided by social categorization theory and the contact hypothesis. A convenience sample of 89 adults provided survey data to test the hypothesis that non-Amish individuals who shared more contact with Old Order Amish would report more positive attitudes (less attitudinal bias) toward the Amish than would individuals who shared less contact. Blockwise hierarchical regression analysis showed that after controlling for demographic factors and known correlates of attitudinal bias, deep (but not superficial) contact was significantly related to positive attitudes toward the Amish. Deep contact and need for cognition explained 29.4% of the variance in attitudes that non-Amish people held toward Old Order Amish. Application of these findings, suggestions for future research, and study limitations are discussed.