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The University of Southampton

PSYC3053 Developmental Psychopathology

Module Overview

The module aims to enhance students' knowledge about current theories and research in the area of developmental psychopathology.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Identify the major mental disorders that affect infants, children and adolescents and critically discuss their classification and assessment.
  • Discuss current approaches to understanding the aetiology and maintenance of these disorders.
  • Evaluate the strengths and limitations of the developmental psychopathology approach, which seeks to understand patterns of adaptation and maladaptation across the lifespan.
  • Discuss how current clinical practice is informed by theory in developmental psychology.


In discussing theoretical perspectives, there will be an emphasis on the dynamic interplay between genetic (and epigenetic), psychological, social, cognitive, emotional, and cultural influences. The importance of early experiences and the complexities of risk processes and protective factors will be addressed. The module will cover a range of typical disorders of childhood and adolescence (eg Autism, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Conduct Disorder, Anxiety) and will also discuss less common problems including Attachment related disorders and behavioural patterns following early deprivation. Issues relating to assessment and research methods will be critically discussed.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The initial sessions will be led by the instructors introducing the class to the main themes and issues in developmental psychopathology. In subsequent weeks, the sessions will divide into two parts. In the first part of the session the instructor will give a general introduction to a specific topic (e.g., ADHD, autism, etc.). In the second part of the session, students will present and lead discussion on key research papers linked to this topic. The course aims to encourage student participation and active learning.

Independent Study126
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Journals. Journals in the library (and available on-line) will enable you to look at the most recent research in the study of developmental psychopathology. These include: • Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology • Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry • Development and Psychopathology • Child Development • Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry • Developmental Psychology.

Lecture outlines. Lectures are intended to provide a basic introduction to each topic and should be supplemented with independent research into topics of interest. See lecture outlines for specific readings and suggested articles

Kerig, P K; Ludlow, A; Wenar, C. (2012). Developmental Psychopathology: From Infancy through Adolescence. 


Assessment Strategy

Students will be assessed on the basis of an individual poster (29%), a final assessment (70%) and research participation (1%). Students should sign up through Psychobook to take part in psychological experiments and receive credits for research participation.


MethodPercentage contribution
Assessment 70%
Individual Poster 29%
Research Participation 1%


MethodPercentage contribution
Assessment 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules

Pre-requisites: PSYC2007 AND (SOCI2020 or (EDUC2043 and EDUC2042) or PSYC2020 or EDUC2054)

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