Amish; Nickel Mines shooting; trauma and birth outcomes


Objective: To evaluate the impact of the Nickel Mines shooting October 2, 2006 on the psychological stress and birth outcomes of Amish women living in proximity to the event. Methods: Data are from a population-based cohort study of 202 Amish women of childbearing age interviewed at baseline (winter 2004-2005) and 3 years later (winter 2007-2008). Data are also from Pennsylvania Department of Health birth records 2004-2008. Results: There was no apparent impact of the shooting on depression, social support, stress, number of diagnoses, sleep, doctor visits, number of medications, or anxiety. Nor was there an apparent impact on these outcomes when the distance of homes from the Nickel Mines school was taken into account. Timing of birth relative to the shooting apparently did not affect birthweight, gestation length or the probability of a low birthweight baby. Conclusions: Although the Nickel Mines shooting had a profound impact on the Amish community, we found no difference in Amish women’s health, mental health, or birth outcomes when comparing pre and post shooting measures. This may reflect the very high levels of social support among these women. [Abstract by authors]


This project was funded in part by Franklin & Marshall College and in part under grant number 4100020719 from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, which specifically disclaims responsibility for any analyses, interpretations, or conclusions. Our students in PBH388 Public Health Research: Pregnancy outcomes in American women helped us focus our thoughts on the issues discussed herein. Dr. Donald Kraybill and Edsel Burdge, Jr. of the Elizabethtown College Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies generously helped us to understand the Amish way of life and modern pressures on it. Dr. Holmes Morton, Dr. Kevin Strauss, Dr. Erik Puffenberger, and Karlla Brigatti of the Clinic for Special Children in Strasburg, PA, generously supported our work. Carol Weisman and Marianne Hillemeier of the Pennsylvania State University, College of Medicine supported and inspired us. Thank you.



Included in

Psychology Commons