Childhood maltreatment is one of the leading causes of mental health problems in the world. This module is designed as an in-depth introduction to the mechanisms via which early adversity might lead to mental health problems. We will also discuss resilience factors that might protect maltreated children from adverse effects.
Pre-requisites: PSYC2007 AND PSYC2020 (or equivalent research methods/statistics modules)
Pre-requisites: PSYC2007 AND (SOCI2020 or (EDUC2043 and EDUC2042) or PSYC2020 or EDUC2054)
Aims and Objectives
Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:
- You should be able to discuss different mechanisms related to resilience and vulnerability to early adversity
- You should be able to demonstrate knowledge on research methods relevant for designing studies on early adversity
- You should be able to illustrate independent learning by reading additional relevant literature beyond the lecture material
- You should be able to critically evaluate studies and theories on the association between early adversity and mental health problems
- You should be able to discuss the translation of research findings into practice.
The module will discuss the following themes:
- Definition and prevalence of maltreatment
- Risk factors for childhood maltreatment
- Associations between maltreatment and the risk for mental health problems
- Overarching themes and issues
- Measurement and assessment of maltreatment experiences
- The concept of resilience
- Biological mechanisms which help explain how early experiences impact later development, such as discussion of sensitive periods, biological programming, alterations of brain structure and function, HPA axis imbalance, genetic and epigenetic mechanisms, inflammatory processes and the role of the microbiome
- Other factors relevant for understanding individual differences following early risk such as the discussion of the benefits of adoption and fostering, attachment, family and peer relations
- The translation of research into practice
- Perspectives from practitioners working in the field of maltreatment (e.g. clinical or social services)
Attendance is a professional skill and strongly encouraged.
Learning and Teaching
Teaching and learning methods
The two-hour weekly sessions will include both topic lectures as well as contributions from students which may include the discussion of relevant research findings, practical exercises and discussion with practitioners.
|Total study time||150|
Coursework: The coursework consists of two parts. Both parts will collectively account for 50% of the module mark.
Part 1: You will be divided into small groups and be given a selection of papers on a similar topic. As a group, you will choose a stakeholder, extract one or more relevant policy and practice messages and develop a public engagement tool to disseminate those messages to the chosen stakeholder (e.g. a blog post, podcast, brochure, poster, app, video…). You will receive a group mark for part 1 which will account for 15% of the total module mark.
Part 2: Each group member will write a 1000 word justification which will be marked individually and account for 35% of the module mark. You will have to justify how the policy messages could be derived from the studies, how the stakeholders were chosen and how this particular product was a good choice. The last paragraph should describe future directions. All arguments should be linked to existing theories and research findings.
Final Assessment: For the final assessment you choose a discussion question from a selection and record a 10-minute presentation (with narration) in which you present and critically evaluate theories and evidence relevant to the chosen question. This will account for 49% of the total module mark. The final 1% will be achieved through research credits.
This is how we’ll formally assess what you have learned in this module.
This is how we’ll assess you if you don’t meet the criteria to pass this module.
Repeat type: Internal & External