1st Edition

Discrimination in Childhood and Adolescence A Developmental Intergroup Approach

By Christia Spears Brown Copyright 2017
    234 Pages
    by Routledge

    234 Pages
    by Routledge

    Discrimination impacts most youth at some point. Almost all children and adolescents belong to at least one stigmatized group, whether they are a Black or Latino boy in school; an immigrant or refugee; a gay, lesbian, or bisexual teen; or a girl in physics class. Discrimination on the basis of race/ethnicity, immigration status, gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity can have long-term academic, psychological, and social repercussions, especially when it is directed at a cognitively developing child or an emotionally vulnerable adolescent. How children and adolescents are impacted by this discrimination depends on their cognitive ability to perceive the bias, the context in which the bias occurs, and resources they have to help cope with the bias.

    This book details, synthesizes, and analyzes the perception and impact of discrimination in childhood and adolescence across multiple stigmatized social groups to help us better understand the complex phenomenon of discrimination and its long-term consequences. By looking at the similarities and differences in discrimination across all social groups, we can more fully understand its mechanisms of influence. Before we can fully address the persistent achievement gap between White and ethnic minority children, the high rates of suicidal thoughts among LGBT youth, and the underrepresentation of girls in STEM careers, we must first examine the ways in which discrimination influences and is understood by children, with their unique cognitive constraints and within the specific contexts in which they live.

    Introduction: How Children and Adolescents Experience Discrimination Because of Ethnicity, Immigration, Gender, and Sexual Orientation  

    Part 1: Overview and Background on Discrimination in Childhood and Adolescence 

    1. Defining a Complex Phenomenon 

    2. Theoretical Framework for Understanding the Importance of Discrimination 

    3. An (Abridged) Historical Look at Research on Childhood Discrimination 

    Part 2: The Perception of Discrimination in Childhood and Adolescence 

    4. Perceptions of Discrimination Across Social Groups: Trends, Similarities, and Differences 

    5. How Children Develop an Understanding of Discrimination: The Social Cognitive Precursors 

    6. A Developmental Intergroup Analysis of Children and Adolescents’ Perceptions of Discrimination: Who, What, and When 

    Part 3: The Impact of Discrimination on Children and Adolescents 

    7. The Physical and Psychological Impact of Perceiving Discrimination 

    8. Social and Behavioral Consequences of Perceiving Discrimination 

    9. The Academic Consequences of Perceiving Discrimination 

    Part 4: The Context of Discrimination in Childhood and Adolescence 

    10. The Role of the Family 

    11. The Peer Context 

    12. The Importance of Schools and Neighborhoods 

    Conclusion: Where to Go From Here


    Christia Spears Brown is a Professor of Developmental and Social Psychology at the University of Kentucky. Her research focuses on children’s and adolescents’ understanding of social inequalities and the ways those inequalities shape development.

    'Discrimination in Childhood and Adolescence is a welcome contribution to the field! This book demonstrates that prejudice and discrimination begin in childhood, whereas prior books on the problem of discrimination have mostly focused on the phenomenon in adulthood. Brown does an excellent job integrating the developmental research and theory produced over the last 20 years, and uses developmental intergroup theory to provide the reader with a conceptual framework for understanding how and why prejudice and discrimination emerge, and how they affect children's and adolescents' development. Importantly, she presents empirically based strategies for reducing prejudice and discrimination. Brown has written a very engaging book, which I expect will capture and sustain the interest of many students, researchers, educators, and policymakers.' - Campbell Leaper, University of California, Santa Cruz

    'This book is a much needed and exemplary resource for individuals interested in youth and discrimination. Written in a clear, accessible manner by a leading researcher of children’s experiences with and views of discrimination, the coverage is unique in its scope. Brown provides a comprehensive review of what is known in the field of psychology about the antecedents and consequences of youth’s perceptions of discrimination based on race, gender, ethnicity, immigrant status, sexual minority status, and other social categories. Brown’s compassion for youth and commitment to social justice are evident in her work, which most certainly will inspire future scientific progress in an area that is crucial for understanding child development.' - Rebecca Bigler, The University of Texas at Austin