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PS348-15 Issues in Families and Development

Undergraduate Level 3
Module leader
Fiona MacCallum
Credit value
Module duration
12 weeks
33% coursework, 67% exam
Study location
University of Warwick main campus, Coventry
Introductory description

This module focuses on child development in unusual circumstances

Module web page

Module aims

This is an advanced module focusing on child development in unusual circumstances, whether because of the family situation or a disorder of development. The first part of the module focuses on child development in different family situations, including single parent families, same-sex couple families, families created using assisted reproduction, and adoptive families. The significance of other family factors, such as parental psychological health and interparental relationships, for child development is also considered. The second part of the module focuses on difficulties and disorders of development, including dyslexia, autism, attention deficit disorder and language impairment. Issues in the definition and diagnosis of developmental disorders are also examined.

Outline syllabus

This is an indicative module outline only to give an indication of the sort of topics that may be covered. Actual sessions held may differ.

1 Parental psychiatric difficulties and interparental conflict
2 Single parent families
3 Lesbian mother and gay father families
4 Assisted reproduction families
5 adoptive families
6 Language impairment
7 Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder 8 Autism and pervasive developmental disorders
9 Deafness
10 Dyslexia

1 Revision
2 Revision

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students should be able to:

  • Show an understanding of the interaction between genetics and the environment in determining a child’s development
  • Assess the influence of interparental conflict and parental psychiatric disorder on children’s psychological development
  • Understand how family structure can affect development, with particular reference to parental absence and non-genetic relationships
  • Identify the aspects of parenting and child development that may differ between natural conception families and those created through assisted reproduction or adoption, and explain the reasons for these differences
  • Consider the issues involved in prognosis of children with developmental disorders, and how these can be affected by intervention
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the symptoms and possible causes of a range of developmental difficulties, including autism, language impairment and ADHD
Indicative reading list

Empson, J. (2015) Atypical Child Development in Context. (2nd ed.) London: Palgrave
Golombok, S. (2015) Modern Families. Cambridge: CUP
Golombok, S. (2000) Parenting: What really counts? London: Routledge
Norbury, C. F., Tomblin, B., & Bishop, D. V. M. (2008) Understanding developmental
language disorders: from Theory to Practice. Hove: Psychology

View reading list on Talis Aspire

Subject specific skills
  • Understanding of the influence of interparental conflict, parental psychiatric disorder and family structures on children’s psychological development.
  • Evaluation of issues in prognosis and possible interventions in developmental disorders.
  • Understanding of symptoms and possible causes of a range of developmental difficulties.
  • Understanding of the interaction between genetics and the environment in a child’s development.
  • Identifying the mechanisms by which family processes affect children’s development, and the implications for interventions.
Transferable skills
  • effective communication skills to develop a cogent argument supported by relevant evidence and being sensitive to the needs and expectations of an audience;
  • familiarity with collecting and organising stored information found in library book and journal collections, and online, critically evaluating primary and secondary sources;
  • effective personal planning skills

Study time

Type Required
Lectures 12 sessions of 2 hours (16%)
Seminars 10 sessions of 1 hour (7%)
Private study 116 hours (77%)
Total 150 hours
Private study description

116 hours guided student study


No further costs have been identified for this module.

You do not need to pass all assessment components to pass the module.

Students can register for this module without taking any assessment.

Assessment group D3
Weighting Study time
Essay 33%
Exam 67%
Feedback on assessment

Assessed via annotated copy and academic guidance form; exam performance via personal \r\ntutor or online.

Past exam papers for PS348


To take this module, you must have passed:


This module is Optional for:

  • Year 1 of TPSS-C8P9 Postgraduate Taught Psychological Research
  • Year 3 of UPSA-C800 Undergraduate Psychology
  • Year 4 of UPSA-C801 Undergraduate Psychology (with Intercalated year)
  • Year 3 of UPSA-C804 Undergraduate Psychology with Education Studies

This module is Option list A for:

  • Year 3 of UPSA-C804 Undergraduate Psychology with Education Studies

This module is Option list B for:

  • Year 3 of UPHA-VL78 BA in Philosophy with Psychology
  • Year 4 of UPHA-VL79 BA in Philosophy with Psychology (with Intercalated year)
  • Year 1 of TPSS-C8P9 Postgraduate Taught Psychological Research

This module is Option list C for:

  • Year 3 of UPSA-C802 Undergraduate Psychology with Linguistics