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Commune-Raised Kids Doing Fine, Thank You

Children reared in religious communes in the 1960s and 1970s are quite well-adjusted, contrary to a perception that they are unable to function effectively in the outside world, UCLA researchers say.

Since 1974, the anthropologists have been studying 25 children across the country who live in religious communes. The children, now 12 years old, function well socially with their peers and do well in their studies, the UCLA researchers reported last week at the annual meeting of the American Assn. for the Advancement of Science.

They described the children as “bicultural” and attributed much of the children’s attitudes to what they say is the Americanization of religious communes--meaning that many of the communes stressed such traditional values as family, hard work and achievement in life, they found.

“Although the groups have a significant effect on the families’ religious and cultural attitudes, the children are still developing in culturally appropriate ways,” Thomas S. Weisner said. “They so far also show culturally normative developmental profiles for American children.” He said the study does not involve children of cults.

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