Coping with Reluctance to Change in Rural Prevention Programming

  • John F. Snyder


A person weary of pulling drowning people from the stream was heard to say to his tired companion, “We have to go upstream and stop these people being thrown in the water”. This is an old definition of prevention but in some rural areas it is thwarted by reluctance to even consider going upstream (i.e., change in any fashion). This is not to say that all rural communities are staid and unchanging. Concerning rural-urban differences in attitudes and behavior in the United States, it is concluded by Glenn and Hill, Jr. (1977) that “rather small differences between percentages has often obscured the fact that on most issues the rural and urban populations each has almost as much internal differentiation in attitudes as does the total population” (p.50). This also does not change the reality that within a 50 mile radius in Southern Illinois there is a vast difference between rural communities on the dimension of readiness to change. Many are ultra-conservative, some are slowly but surely changing and others seem to change quite rapidly. The reluctance to change and the difficulty of “outsiders” making entry into a community for prevention programming is the issue at hand in this paper.


Drug Abuse Rural Community Rand Corporation Moderate Drinking Internal Differentiation 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • John F. Snyder
    • 1
  1. 1.Peer Oriented Drug Abuse Educational Network (PODAEN)Southern Illinois UniversityUSA

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