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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 Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology.


The course focuses on the origins and development of a range of problems in childhood and adolescence (e.g. anxiety, depression, behavioural problems,intellectual desability, autism) 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. Knowledge of the origin and development of problems experienced by young people is essential in the development of interventions to prevent and treat such problems. While this course does not focus on the treatment of problems experienced by young people, the final workgroup draws on students’ accruing knowledge of risk and protective factors to develop a preventive intervention.

Course objectives

Students will be able to:

  • identify 6 standards to differentiate between normal and abnormal development in young people;

  • identify 6 key features of the developmental psychopathology perspective;

  • identify 4 key features of the empirical approach to classifying psychopathology;

  • critically evaluate the DSM by specifying at least 4 problems with the classification 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 problems experienced by young people;

  • critically evaluate the methods and instruments that are used to assess cognition involved in young people’s internalising problems; and

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


For the timetables of your lectures, work group sessions, and exams, select your study programme.
Psychology timetables

Work group sessions



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. 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).

The total workload of the course is 140 hours (5 EC), made up of:

  • 16 hours lectures

  • 80 hours preparation for lectures

  • 8 hours workgroup sessions

  • 36 hours assignments (preparation for work group sessions)

Assessment method

  • Component 1: multiple-choice exam at the end of Block 1, worth 70% of the overall course mark.

  • Component 2: four workgroup assignments (20% of course mark) and active participation in work groups (10% of course mark): yielding a combined mark worth 30% of the overall 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 workgroups in the following academic year and complete the associated assignments.

Note: The Institute of Psychology advises that students who attend less than 75% of the workgroups (i.e., 2 or more workgroups missed) are awarded a mark of 1/10 for Component 2, irrespective of the marks achieved for the 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.

  • Blote, A., Miers, A.C., Heyne, D.A., Clark, D.M., & Westenberg, P.M. (2014). The relation between social anxiety and audience perception: Examining Clark and Wells’ (1995) model among adolescents. Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy, 42, 555-567.

  • 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.

  • Havik, T., Bru, E., & Ertesvag, S.K. (2014). Parental perspectives of the role of school factors in school refusal. Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties, 19, 131-153.

  • 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.

  • Hong, J.S., Lee, C.-H., Lee, J., Lee, N.Y., & Garbarino, J. (2014). A review of bullying prevention and intervention in South Korean schools: An application of the social–ecological Framework. Child Psychiatry and Human Development, 45, 433-442.

  • 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