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Developmental Psychopathology

Course Code: PSYC 3342
Faculty: Humanities & Social Sciences
Department: Psychology
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15
Learning Format: Lecture
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

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
    • 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

Methods of Instruction

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%
Mid term 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. Describe 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. Describe classification and assessment systems of psychopathology.
  7. Define 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. Define the levels of prevention.
  10. Describe the importance of prevention.
  11. Describe continuing concerns for the child in the areas of family, maternal employment, child abuse, and poverty.

course prerequisites

PSYC 1100 AND PSYC 1200

curriculum 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 schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.

noticecurriculum notice

There is an upcoming curriculum change scheduled for .
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