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Developmental Psychopathology



Developmental and Educational Psychology (first year course).

Note that the course Developmental Psychopathology is a prerequisite 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. While the 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.


Developmental Psychopathology (Ontwikkelingspsychopathologie) (2013-2014):

Mode of instruction

  • 9 lectures of 2 hours (conducted in English).

  • 5 work group meetings of 2 hours (available in English and in Dutch); workgroup participation contributes towards course assessment.

  • 5 assignments.

Course objectives

The course comprises lectures, workgroup sessions, assignments, and an exam. The series of lectures includes an initial overview of the general theoretical premises of the developmental psychopathology framework. Subsequently, the development and course of various types of psychopathology (e.g., anxiety, depression, conduct problems, language and learning problems, autism, sleep problems) 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. The workgroup sessions permit several problem areas to be addressed in greater depth. Workgroup activities include discussing scientific articles, reviewing video material, and giving short presentations. Assignments prepared prior to the workgroup prepare students for participation in the workgroups.

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

  • specify the key principles associated with the developmental psychopathology perspective;

  • specify at least six factors involved in the differentiation between normal and abnormal development in young people;

  • identify the DSM criteria used to diagnose problems in young people;

  • specify at least six shortcomings associated with the DSM classification system;

  • identify 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 experienced by young people;

  • evaluate the methods and instruments used to assess cognition 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.

Assessment method

  • Multiple-choice exam (70%)

  • Five workgroup assignments (20% of the grade)

  • Active participation in workgroups (10%)

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. (2013). Abnormal child and adolescent psychology (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.

  • 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. 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.

  • Kearney, C. A. (2008). School absenteeism and school refusal behavior in youth: A contemporary review. C_linical 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.


Exam registration

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