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Developmental Psychopathology


IBP students, see Developmental Psychopathology IBP.


Developmental and Educational Psychology (first year course).

Note that the course Developmental Psychopathology is a prerequisite for the third year course Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.


In this course we focus upon the origins and course of a range of emotional and behavioural problems during childhood and adolescence using the developmental psychopathology perspective as a theoretical framework. This framework provides a broad and developmentally orientated approach to understanding emotional and behavioural problems during the life span. It emphasises the relationship between normality and pathology, the complex interplay of multiple risk and protective factors, and developmental pathways including continuity and change. While the course is not focused upon the treatment of problems experienced by young people, accruing knowledge of the origins and course of such problems is essential in the development of effective treatments.


Developmental Psychopathology (Ontwikkelingspsychopathologie) (2014-2015):

Exchange students should be sure to register for an English-language workgroup; IBP students will automatically be enrolled in English-language workgroups)

  • “Exams”: to be announced



Students need to enroll for lectures and work group sessions. Please consult the Instructions registration


Students are not automatically enrolled for an examination. They can register via uSis from 100 to 10 calendar days before the date; students who are not registered will not be permitted to take the examination.
Registering for exams

Mode of instruction

  • 8 lectures of 2 hours (conducted in English).

  • 4 work group meetings of 2 hours (available in English and in Dutch); Exchange students should be sure to register for an English-language workgroup; IBP students will automatically be enrolled in English-language workgroups

  • 4 assignments. assignments (e.g., completing on-line tasks; reviewing empirical studies; applying theoretical models to case material).

  • 1 optional practice exam (does not count towards final mark for the course) .

Course objectives

The course comprises lectures, workgroup meetings, assignments, and an exam. The series of lectures includes an initial overview of the general theoretical premises of the developmental psychopathology framework. Subsequently, the etiology and developmental course of various types of psychopathology (e.g., anxiety, depression, conduct problems, language and learning problems, autism, sleep problems) are addressed from within this framework. The lectures serve to enhance student learning of the textbook materials, as well as to introduce additional materials not covered in the textbook. The workgroup meetings permit several problem areas to be addressed in greater depth. Workgroup activities include reviewing video material, becoming familiar with assessment tools, evaluating scientific articles, and discussing the application of the developmental psychopathology framework to case material. Assignments submitted prior to the workgroup meetings prepare students for participation in the workgroups.

On completion of this course it is expected that students will be able to:

  • identify six standards used to differentiate between normal and abnormal development in young people (developmental norms; cultural norms; gender norms; situational norms; role of adults; changing views of abnormality)

  • identify six key elements of the developmental psychopathology perspective (risk & protection; equifinality and multifinality; moderation and mediation; continuity and change; biological and environmental contexts; interactional and transactional models);

  • identify four key elements of the empirical approach to classifying psychopathology in young people (statistical procedures; normative samples; broadband and narrowband syndromes; cross-sectional and longitudinal designs)

  • critically evaluate the DSM classification system by specifying at least four shortcomings associated with the system

  • identify the DSM criteria used to classify psychopathology in young people;

  • identify age and gender trends associated with psychopathology in young people;

  • identify risk factors and processes associated with the cause and course of a range of problems experienced by young people;

  • critically evaluate the methods and instruments used to assess cognition associated with the development and maintenance of internalizing problems in young people;

  • apply a theoretical model of psychopathology to the development of internalizing behaviour in a young person.

Assessment method

See Regulations on grade calculation for compulsory courses of the second year

Specification for this course

  • Component 1: Multiple-choice exam (70% of course mark) held at the end of Block 1.

  • Component 2: Four workgroup assignments (20% of course mark) and active participation in workgroups (10% of course mark), and the marks for the assignments and for participation in the workgroups result in a combined mark worth 30% of the course.

  • Students achieving less than 5 for Component 1 need to sit the re-exam held in January. Students achieving less than 5 for Component 2 need to participate in the workgroups and prepare the assignments associated with the course in the following academic year.

The Faculty of Social Sciences has instituted that instructors use a software programme for the systematic detection of plagiarism in students’ written work. In case of fraud disciplinary actions will be taken. Please see the information concerning fraud.


Information on

Reading list

  • Textbook: Wicks-Nelson, R., & Israel, A. C. (2013). Abnormal child and adolescent psychology (8th Ed.). Amsterdam: Pearson. (Approximate cost: 75 euro; 75% of the text is prescribed reading.)

Readings available via ‘Blackboard’. Exemplary literature includes:

  • Bellina, M., Brambilla, P., Garzitto, M., Negri, G.A.L., Molteni, M., & Nobile, M. (2013). The ability of CBCL DSM-oriented scales to predict DSM-IV diagnoses in a referred sample of children and adolescents. European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 22, 235-246.

  • Cohen, J.R., Young, J.F., & Abela, J.R.Z. (2012). Cognitive vulnerability to depression in children: An idiographic, longitudinal examination of inferential styles. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 36, 643-654.

  • Heyne, D. A., & Sauter, F. M. (2013). School refusal. In C. A. Essau, & T. H. Ollendick (Eds.), The Wiley-Blackwell handbook of the treatment of childhood and adolescent anxiety (pp. 471-517). Chichester: John Wiley & Sons Limited.

  • Neil, A. L., & Christensen, H. (2009). Efficacy and effectiveness of school-based prevention and early intervention programs for anxiety. Clinical Psychology Review, 29, 208-215.

  • Reijntjes, A., Dekovic, M., Vermande, M., & Telch, M. J. (2008). Predictive validity of the Children’s Attributional Styles Questionnaire: Linkages with reactions to an in vivo peer evaluation manipulation. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 32, 247-260.

  • Vasey, M. W., & Dadds, M. R. (2001). An introduction to the developmental psychopathology of anxiety. In M. W. Vasey & M. R. Dadds (Eds.), The developmental psychopathology of anxiety (pp. 3-26). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Contact information

Dr. D. Heyne
Contact via secretary room 3B48
Phone +31 71 5273644
E-mail: secretary developmental psychology