Developmental Psychopathology

Humanities & Social Sciences
Course Code
PSYC 3342
Semester Length
Max Class Size
Method(s) Of Instruction
Typically Offered
To be determined


Course Description
This course will introduce the field of developmental psychopathology, which integrates developmental theory and research in psychology, in order to understand the origins and consequences of psychological problems. Perspectives on disordered behaviour will be followed by an investigation of various child and adolescent disorders. Topics will include anxiety, depression, conduct disorders, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, mental retardation, learning disabilities, autism and childhood schizophrenia, and physical disorders.
Course Content
  1. Introduction
    • Defining disordered behaviour
    • How common are childhood disorders
    • Some historical influences 
    • Children as special clients
  2. The Developmental Context
    • What is development
    • Overview of normal development
    • How development occurs: The transactional model
    • Behavioural disorders: Risk, vulnerability, protection
    • Predicting behaviour disorders: Change and continuity
  3. Perspectives, Research, Classification, and Assessment
    • Biological
    • Psychodynamic
    • Environmental
    • Cultural
    • Basic research methods
    • Classification and diagnosis
    • Assessment
  4. Psychological Disorders
    • Anxiety
    • Depression
    • Peer relations
    • Conduct disorder
    • Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder
    • Mental retardation
    • Learning disabilities
    • Autism
    • Childhood schizophrenia
    • Disorders of eating
    • Disorders of elimination
    • Sleep disorders
    • Psychophysiological disorders
  5. Evolving Concerns for the Child
    • Importance of prevention
    • Families in transition
    • Current and future challenges
Learning Activities

The course will involve a number of instructional methods such as the following:

  • lectures
  • seminar presentations
  • audio-visual materials
  • small group discussion
  • research papers
Means of Assessment

The course evaluation will be in accordance with Douglas College and Psychology Department Policy. Evaluations will be based on the course objectives. Specific evaluation criteria will be provided by the instructor at the beginning of the semester.


An example of a possible evaluation scheme would be:

4 quizzes - 40%

Midterm exam - 15%

Term paper - 15%

Oral presentation - 5%

Participation - 5%

Final exam - 20%

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of the course the successful student will be able to:        


  1. Define disordered behaviour.
  2. Describe normal development and the factors that affect this process.
  3. Investigate the biological, psychodynamic, behavioural/social learning, cognitive-behavioural, psychoeducational, and family systems perspectives of psychopathology.
  4. Describe the modes of treatment that are associated with each of the perspectives.
  5. Describe the case study, naturalistic observational, correlational, experimental, and longitudinal methods of scientific investigation.
  6. Review classification and assessment systems of psychopathology.
  7. Compare each of the following disorders of childhood and adolescence: anxiety disorder, depression, peer relations, conduct disorder, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, mental retardation, learning disabilities, autism, childhood schizophrenia, disorders of eating, disorders of elimination, sleep disorders, psychophysiological disorders.
  8. Describe and evaluate the theories of etiology and treatments for each disorder.
  9. Compare the levels of prevention.
  10. Formulate models of prevention.
  11. Appraise continuing concerns for the child in the areas of family, maternal employment, child abuse, and poverty.
  12. Assess the impact of culture and other diversity factors on child and youth developmental psychopathology.


Textbook Materials

Textbook(s) such as the following, the list to be updated periodically.


Mash, E.J., & Wolfe, D.A. (2019). Abnormal child psychology (7th Ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.




Courses listed here must be completed either prior to or simultaneously with this course:

  • No corequisite courses


Courses listed here are equivalent to this course and cannot be taken for further credit:

  • No equivalency courses

Course Guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester / year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

Course Transfers

These are for current course guidelines only. For a full list of archived courses please see

Institution Transfer Details for PSYC 3342
Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) KPU PSYC 2XXX (3)
Langara College (LANG) LANG PSYC 2318 (3)
Simon Fraser University (SFU) SFU PSYC 356 (3)
Thompson Rivers University (TRU) TRU PSYC 2XXX (3)
Trinity Western University (TWU) TWU PSYC 3XX (3)
University of British Columbia - Okanagan (UBCO) UBCO PSYO 2nd (3)
University of British Columbia - Vancouver (UBCV) UBCV PSYC 2nd (3)
University of Northern BC (UNBC) UNBC PSYC 2XX (3)
University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) UFV PSYC 356 (3)
University of Victoria (UVIC) UVIC PSYC 2XX (1.5)

Course Offerings

Summer 2023