The Theory of Differential Oppression: A Developmental-Ecological Explanation of Adolescent Problem Behavior
The developmental-ecological perspective provides a means for understanding how the oppression of children occurs within multiple social contexts that interrelate to produce harmful outcomes for children. Because children lack power due to their age, size, and lack of resources, they are easy targets for adult oppression. Children are exposed to different levels and types of oppression that vary depending on their age, level of development, socioeconomic class, race, and the beliefs and perceptions of their parents. According to the theory of differential oppression, oppression leads to adaptive reactions by children: passive acceptance, exercise of illegitimate coercive power, manipulation of one's peers, and retaliation. Reducing the oppressive acts of adults and alleviating the damaging circumstances that characterize the social environment of children is critical to reducing the prevalence of juvenile delinquency and other problem behaviors.
John D. Hewitt, Beverly Kingston, and Robert Regoli. "The Theory of Differential Oppression: A Developmental-Ecological Explanation of Adolescent Problem Behavior" Critical Criminology 11 (2003): 237-260.