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PS353-15 Developmental Psychopathology

Undergraduate Level 3
Module leader
Dieter Wolke
Credit value
33% coursework, 67% exam
Study location
University of Warwick main campus, Coventry
Introductory description

This is an advanced module focusing on the development of problems or disorders that have their onset in infancy, childhood or adolescence.

Module web page

Module aims

Developmental Psychopathology combines thinking from Clinical and Developmental Psychology and is interested in understanding the origins, the development and processes that lead to psychopathology and to impairment in everyday functioning.
The module first provides a basic introduction into classification systems of psychopathology. Secondly, basic concepts and terms used in developmental Psychopathology (prevalence, incidence) or to describe mechanisms such as risk and protective factors, resources, vulnerability, resilience and co-morbidity are introduced and critically discussed. The major part of the module deals with problems to major disorders including those having their onset in infancy (regulatory problems: crying, feeding, sleeping); childhood (conduct and oppositional defiant disorder and bullying victimisation) and those most frequently having their onset in adolescence or adulthood (e.g. eating disorder and psychosis). For each of the different problems or disorders, the diagnostic features are described, the antecedents explored, an attempt to understand the processes involved in their development is made, and evidence of their long term consequences is examined. The module will be rounded off by a more detailed look at genetically sensitive designs (quantitative and molecular genetics) and an overview of different methodologies for the study of developmental psychopathology ranging from epidemiological to longitudinal studies and experimental approaches (e.g. intervention or treatment studies).

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.

Classification systems of major psychopathologies (DSM5 ICD-10/11, zero-to-three);
Basic terms and concepts in developmental psychopathology;
Common problems in infancy;
Conduct Disorder (CD) and Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD);
Peer bullying eating disorder;
Psychosis like symptoms and psychosis;
Genetics and Developmental Psychopathology Research approaches.
Revision session.

Learning outcomes

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

  • Understand how psychiatric classification systems work and critically reflect on their advantages but also disadvantages.
  • Have a good understanding of the major concepts and terms in Developmental Psychopathology.
  • Be aware of the definitions, prevalence, development and prognosis of the disorders covered in the course.
  • Identify the aspects of the environment, parenting and within child characteristics that have been identified to lead to different infant or childhood/adolescence onset disorders.
  • Be aware of some treatment approaches of dealing with common infancy problems such as excessive crying, feeding or sleeping problems.
  • Show a thorough understanding of the role of the environment and genetics in the development of disorders
  • Demonstrate knowledge of different methodological approaches to the study of psychopathology.
Indicative reading list

Lewis, M., & Rudolph, K. D. (Eds.). (2015). Handbook of Developmental Psychopathology (3 ed.).
London: Springer.
Cicchetti, D. & Cohen, D.J. (Eds.), Developmental Psychopathology. Volume 1: Theory and
Method. Hoboken , J.J.: John Wiley & Sons
Gillberg, C., Harrington, R. & Steinhausen, H.-C. (Eds.), A Clinician’s Handbook of Child and
Adolescent Psychiatry. Cambridge : Cambridge University Press

View reading list on Talis Aspire

Subject specific skills

Understand how psychiatric classification systems work
Understand the major concepts and terms in Developmental Psychopathology
Identify the aspects of the environment, parenting and within child characteristics that can lead to different onset disorders.
Awareness of some treatment approaches of dealing with common infancy problems

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
critically evaluation primary and secondary sources
recognition of what is required for effective teamwork
effective personal planning skills

Study time

Type Required
Lectures 11 sessions of 2 hours (73%)
Seminars 8 sessions of 1 hour (27%)
Total 30 hours
Private study description

120 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
Presentation 3%

A 10-minute (10-12 slide) Power point presentation for one of the seminars

Essay 30%

essay on the topic of the presentation

Online Examination 67%
  • Online examination: No Answerbook required
Feedback on assessment

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

Past exam papers for PS353


This module is Optional for:

  • Year 1 of TPSS-C8P9 Postgraduate Taught Psychological Research
  • 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)