Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Number of Pages



This study tests several tenets of the theory of differential oppression. The theory of differential oppression suggests that the social order is created by adults for adults. Children are forced to conform to this order, despite their possible reluctance, because they lack the power to create meaningful social change. The extended use of power by adults leads to the oppression of children. The theory of differential oppression maintains that delinquency is one possible reaction to oppression; This study also attempts to expand the theory of differential oppression by addressing the role of alienation in the development of delinquency. It suggests that oppression plays an important role in the development of alienation, but not in the onset of delinquency. It is argued that alienation is a stronger predictor of delinquency than alienation; Stephen Lyng's analysis of edgework activity is used to analyze the formation of delinquent conduct. Edgework activities are defined as risky, life-threatening recreational pursuits (e.g., skydiving, rock climbing, etc.) that people use to escape social constraint and alienation. In this case, delinquency is examined as one possible form of edgework. It provides adolescents with an opportunity to escape their alienation through risky, self-directed delinquent behaviors. This results in a sense of excitement, autonomy and achievement rarely found in the adult world; A self-report delinquency instrument was administered to a sample of UNLV and Community College of Southern Nevada students (N = 226). The data suggests that alienation is an intervening variable in the relationship between oppression and delinquency. The data also suggests that, for highly alienated adolescents, delinquency may serve as a from of edgework.


Alienation; Delinquency; Differential; Edgework; Juvenile; Keys; Oppression; Risk; Risk-taking; Taking; Understanding; Risk-taking

Controlled Subject

Criminology; Social psychology; Social structure

File Format


File Size

2856.96 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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