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Developmental Psychopathology


Entry requirements



The course focuses on the origins and development of a range of problems in childhood and adolescence (e.g. anxiety, depression, behavioural problems,intellectual disability, 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 prepare for future clinical and/or research work with young people by being able to:

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

  • identify key features of the developmental psychopathology perspective;

  • identify 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; and

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

Students prepare for work in the broader field of psychology by being able to:

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


For the timetable of this course please refer to MyTimetable


NOTE As of the academic year 2021-2022, you must register for all courses in uSis. You do this twice a year: once for the courses you want to take in semester 1 and once for the courses you want to take in semester 2.
Registration for courses in the first semester is possible from July. Registration for courses in the first semester is possible from December.
The exact date on which the registration starts will be published on the website of the Student Service Center (SSC). First year Bachelor students as well as premaster students will be registered by the Student Service Center; they do not need to register themselves.

The registration period for all courses closes five calendar days before the start of the course.
Also read the complete registration procedure

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.

  • 2 graded assignments (such as reviewing empirical studies or applying theoretical models to case material).

  • 1 optional practice exam (does not count towards final mark for the course, but helps to prepare for the final exam).

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)

Language of instruction
For IBP students all course components are in English; lectures, work-group sessions, workgroup assignments and the multiple choice exam.

Assessment method

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

  • Component 2: 2 workgroup assignments (30% of course mark).

Students will be informed on Brightspace about the post-exam review.

Students whose mark for component 1 is lower than 5 will need to take the resit in January. Active participation in all work group sessions is mandatory. Students are allowed to miss one work group session at most.

Students whose average mark for component 2 is lower than 5.5 will be given the possibility to submit one new assignment to replace the lowest grade of the two regular workgroup assignments.

The Institute of Psychology uses fixed rules for grade calculation and compulsory attendance. It also follows the policy of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences to systematically check student papers for plagiarism with the help of software. Disciplinary measures will be taken when fraud is detected. Students are expected to be familiar with and understand the implications of these three policies.

Reading list

  • Wicks-Nelson, R., & Israel, A. C. (2015/2017). Abnormal child and adolescent psychology with DSM-V updates (8th New Ed.). Amsterdam: Pearson. (Approximate cost: 75 euro; 75% of the text is prescribed reading.)

  • Peer-reviewed articles available via Brightspace

  • Lectureslides/(web)lectures

Contact information

Course coordinator: Dr. Evelien Broekhof e.broekhof@fsw.leidenuniv.nl