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Family process and developmental psychopathology


NB Language spoken in course is English

Admission requirements

This course builds on the knowledge and skills acquired in the following Bachelor courses: Inleiding Pedagogische en Onderwijswetenschappen 1A, Inleiding Pedagogische en Onderwijswetenschappen 1B, Gezinspedagogiek and Inleiding in de Ontwikkelingspsychologie.


The objective of this course is to gain insight into the complex role of family processes in the development of childhood psychopathology. First, the theoretical and empirical developmental psychopathology framework will be presented, with special attention to different types of risk models (direct, mediating, moderating). Topics relevant to family processes that will be discussed include characteristics of the parents (psychopathology, marital relationship), the parent-child attachment relationship, parenting practices (sensitivity, discipline), influences of siblings, and socio-economic and cultural aspects of family life. In addition to discussing the influence of family processes on child psychopathology in general, specific risk factors for specific forms of psychopathology will be presented, including family influences on internalizing (e.g., anxiety, depression), and externalizing (e.g., aggression, delinquency) forms of psychopathology.

Course objectives

  • Gaining knowledge about the developmental psychopathology framework;

  • Gaining knowledge about the mechanisms underlying the influence of different family processes on child psychopathology;

  • Acquiring experience with the interpretation and judgment of empirical papers in this field;

  • Learning to process scientific literature and use it to form opinions and new ideas orally and in written form.

Achievement levels (Master Education and Child Studies)

1 Substantive knowledge

1.1 has profound knowledge of the various theories and methodological approaches common within the domain of one of the specialisations offered by the Master’s programme;
1.2 is able to analyse and conceptualise questions and problems in one of the specialisations offered by the Master’s programme;
1.3 has the capacity to identify a theoretical framework suitable for addressing problems and issues relevant for one of the specialisations offered by the Master’s programme.

2 Research methods and statistics

2.3 is able to critically evaluate aspects of study design and methodology in empirical research.

3 Academic skills

3.1 describing and analysing practical and theoretical issues in human development from both a scientific and an ethical point of view;
3.2 analysing and evaluating scientific literature critically to establish its practical or theoretical relevance;
3.3 formulating a consistent line of reasoning, based on scientific arguments;
3.4 reporting orally and in writing on issues in human development both in an academic and in a professional context.

Achievement levels (Research Master Developmental Psychopathology in Education and Child Studies) 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 8.


Mode of instruction


Assessment method

  • Written closed-book exam (50%)

  • Take-home exam (average of 5 assignments) (30%)

  • Oral presentation (20%)

Research Master students have to complete their homework assignments and written exams in English. They also give an oral presentation in English.

Note: Each part has to be passed (grade >= 5.5)


During the course Blackboard will be used.

Reading list

Full-text papers to be announced on Blackboard.


Please note that separate uSis registration is mandatory for lectures, seminars, exams and re-exams. Student who do not register, cannot attend courses or take exams.


  • Registration for the lectures of the course is possible as of 100 calendar days through 10 calendar days before the first lecture at the latest;

  • Registration for the seminars of the course is possible as of 100 calendar days through 10 calendar days before the first seminar at the latest.


Student must register for each exam through uSis. This is only possible until 10 calendar days before the exam. More information on exam registration

Contact information

Co-ordinator of the course is dr. S.M.C. van der Veek.
She can be reached before/during/after the lectures or via email.