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Developmental Psychopathology



Developmental and Educational Psychology (first year course).

Note that the course Developmental Psychopathology is a pre-requisite for the third year courses Cognitive-Intellectual Development, Social and Emotional Development and 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.

The course comprises lectures and workgroup sessions. The series of lectures includes an initial overview of the general theoretical premises of the developmental psychopathology framework. Subsequently, the development and course of some of the various types of psychopathology (e.g., anxiety, depression, hyperactivity, language impairments) 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.

During the workgroup sessions (attendance and participation contribute towards assessment for the course) several topics will be covered in more detail by discussing scientific articles, writing papers, reviewing video material, and giving short presentations. While this 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.

Course objectives

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

  • demonstrate knowledge of the key concepts, assumptions, and principles associated with the developmental psychopathology perspective;

  • employ a broad range of criteria for differentiating between normal and abnormal development in young people;

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

  • identify protective factors and processes associated with a specific problem of the student’s choice;

  • demonstrate knowledge of several procedures used to assess cognitive data 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.


Ontwikkelingspsychopathologie (Developmental Psychopathology) (2011-2012):

Mode of instruction

  • 8 lectures of 2 hours (conducted in English)

  • 5 workgroup meetings of 2 hours (available in English and in Dutch). Participation contributes towards course assessment (see below).

Assessment method

  • Five workgroup assignments (20% of the grade)

  • Active participation in workgroups (10%)

  • Multiple-choice exam (70%)

From January 1, 2006 the Faculty of Social Sciences has instituted the Ephorus system to be used by instructors for the systematic detection of plagiarism in students’ written work. Please see the information concerning fraud .


Information on

Reading list

  • Textbook: Wicks-Nelson, R., & Israel, A. C. (2009). Abnormal child and adolescent psychology (7th Ed.). New Jersey: Prentice Hall. (Approximate cost: 65 euro; 75% of the text is prescribed reading.)

  • Readings available via ‘Blackboard’. Exemplary literature includes:

    • 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.
    • Musa, C. Z., & Lepine, J. P. (2000). Cognitive aspects of social phobia: A review of theories and experimental research. European Psychiatry, 15, 59-66.
    • 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.
    • Heyne, D. (2006). School refusal. In J. E. Fisher and W. T. O’Donohue (Eds.), Practitioner’s guide to evidence-based psychotherapy (pp. 599-618). New York: Springer.
    • Kearney, C. A. (2008). School absenteeism and school refusal behavior in youth: A contemporary review. Clinical Psychology Review, 28, 451-471.
    • Jellesma, F. C., Rieffe, C., Meerum Terwogt, M., & Westenberg, M. (2008). Do I feel sadness, fear, or both? Comparing self-reported alexithymia and emotional task-performance in children with many or few somatic complaints. Psychology and Health, 24, 881-893.
    • 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.


Registration for the (re)exam is not automatic. Students, who haven’t registered, cannot participate in the (re)exam

Contact information

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