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Unit information: Child and Adolescent Psychology in 2015/16

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Unit name Child and Adolescent Psychology
Unit code SPOL20032
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Turner
Open unit status Open




School/department School for Policy Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law


The content of this unit draws from research and theories in Developmental Psychology. The unit provides an opportunity for an (introductory) examination of selected aspects of psychological development relating to the lives of children and young people. Some sessions will aim to examine the psychological consequences of children's exposure to adverse situations. Additionally, sessions will describe physical, cognitive, and social growth of young people with special attention to the various cultural contexts of development and the rich diversity of individuals. A range of issues in selected areas of contemporary Developmental Psychology will be examined, such as:

  • Development of personality;
  • Child maltreatment;
  • Gender role development
  • Sexual problems in children & young people
  • Psychology in education
  • The psychology of sleep
  • Guilt, conscience & morality
  • The psychology of Adolescence
  • Motivation for physical activity and sports in children and adolescents
  • The impact of domestic violence on children and young people

Students are expected to gain knowledge in these areas, and to develop a critical approach to the analysis of current research and theoretical issues.

At the end of studying this unit students should be able to:

  • Understand and describe the major theories and areas of research in developmental psychology;
  • Understand and be able to evaluate the methods used to research developmental psychology;
  • Relate the theories and thinking of developmental psychology to child development;
  • Understand the relationship between developmental psychology and other psychological approaches and disciplines;
  • Think critically about the key studies/theories.

Intended learning outcomes

  • Good understanding of the major developmental theories and related research to support their claims
  • Ability to evaluate the method sused to research developmental psychology
  • Ability to relate the theories of developmental psychology to child development
  • Good understanding of the relationship between developmental psychology and other psychological approaches and disciplines.

Teaching details

Lectures & seminars.

Assessment Details

3000 word essay

Reading and References

  • Beckett, C. (2007). Human growth and development. London: Sage Publications.
  • Berger, K.S. (2001). The developing person through the lifespan. New York: Worth Publishers [Arts & Social Sciences Library Oversize BF713 BER]
  • Berk, L.E. (2006). Child development (7h Edn.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon. [Arts & Social Sciences Library Oversize HQ767.9 BER] The accompanying Study Guide is recommended but not required.
  • Daniel, B., Wassel, S., & Gilligan, R. (2010). Child development for child protection workers. Philadelphia: Jessica Kingsley Publishers. [HQ772 DAN]
  • Howe, D. (1999). Attachment theory, child maltreatment and family support :a practice and assessment model. Basingstoke: Macmillan. [Arts & Social Sciences Library HV6626.5ATT]
  • Smith, P.K., Cowie, H. & Blades, M. (2011). Understanding Children's Development (5th ed). Oxford: Blackwell.