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Developmental Psychopathology


Entry requirements

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology (first year course).

  • The course Developmental Psychopathology is a prerequisite for the third year course Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.


The course focuses on the origins and development of a range of problems in childhood and adolescence (e.g. anxiety, depression, behavioural problems, language and learning problems, autism and sleep problems) taking the developmental psychopathology perspective as a theoretical framework. This framework provides a broad and developmentally orientated approach to understanding problems across the lifespan. It emphasises the relationship between normality and pathology, the complex interplay of multiple risk and protective factors, and developmental pathways such as continuity and change. While the course does not focus on the treatment of problems experienced by young people, accruing knowledge of the origin and development of such problems is essential in the development of effective treatments.

Course objectives

Students will be able to:

  • identify 6 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 6 key elements of the developmental psychopathology perspective (risk and protection; equifinality and multifinality; moderation and mediation; continuity and change; biological and environmental contexts; interactional and transactional models);

  • identify 4 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 4 shortcomings in 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; and

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


For the timetables of your lectures, workgroups, and exams, select your study programme.
Psychology timetables



Students need to register for lectures, workgroups and exams.
Instructions for registration in courses for the 2nd and 3rd year

For information on registration periods consult the bachelor course registration


Elective students have to enroll for each course separately. For admission requirements contact your exchange coordinator.


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 2-hour lectures (in English). The lectures serve to enhance student learning of the textbook materials as well as to introduce additional materials that are not covered in the textbook.

  • 4 2-hour work-group sessions (in English or Dutch; exchange students should ensure they register for an English-language workgroup; IBP students will automatically be enrolled in English-language workgroups). Various problem areas are addressed in greater depth in the work group sessions. The 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.

  • 4 assignments (such as on-line tasks, reviewing empirical studies or applying theoretical models to case material). Assignments must be submitted prior to the work-group sessions and serve as preparation for the workgroups.

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

Assessment method

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

  • Component 2: four work-group assignments (20% of course mark) and active participation in work groups (10% of course mark): this results in a combined mark worth 30% of the course mark.

  • Students whose mark for component 1 is lower than 5 will need to take the resit in January. Students whose mark for component 2 is lower than 5 will need to participate in the work groups in the following academic year and complete the associated assignments.

Regulations on grade calculation

The Faculty of Social and Behavioural 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.

Reading list

  • Wicks-Nelson, R., & Israel, A. C. (2015). Abnormal child and adolescent psychology with DSM-V updates (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.

  • 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. p. 3-26. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Contact information

Dr. David Heyne