Denise Reiling

A photo of Denise Reiling


Sociology, Anthropology and Criminology


[email protected]


Interests and Expertise

  • Sociology of health and illness
  • Amish studies
  • Social psychology
  • Qualitative methods


Professor Reiling has employed ethnographic and qualitative methods to study various aspects of Old Order Amish culture for more than 20 years. As a social identity theorist, her primary focus has been the manner in which Old Order Amish cultural identity influences their health and illness experiences, primarily help-seeking and health beliefs. She recently opened a new line of inquiry into the manner in which the Old Order Amish cultural mandate to withdraw from school after the 8th-grade impacts the mental health and well-being of Amish youth. She serves as a consultant on Old Order Amish culture to medical and psychiatric professionals throughout the country. Professor Reiling was raised within a farming community, and continues to have both research and personal interest in rural populations and culture. She enjoys gardening, photography, reading biographies and historical fiction, and plays the flute, piano and lap harp.