The module is intended to introduce students to key psychological concepts, by exploring current debates in psychology. Students will learn about the psychological underpinnings of early risk and protective factors for mental illness and wellbeing as well as how school, family, and peers can best support the mental health of children and adolescents.
Module will run
Autumn Term 2022-23
The module is intended to introduce students to key psychological concepts, by exploring current debates in psychology concerning nature of mental illness in children and adolescents, how mental illness can be identified, and how schools, families, and peers can best support the mental health of children and adolescents. Attention will be given to critically examining relationships between academic research, policy and practice in various contexts such as at school, at home, and in the playground.
Module learning outcomes
Students will understand and be able to explain the key psychological concepts underpinning the aetiology of, and the factors that affect, mental illness and wellbeing in children and adolescents;
Students will explore and critically evaluate how theories and empirical research have informed our understanding of how best to support children’s mental health in various contexts such as at school, at home, and in the playground;
Students will apply theoretical knowledge and understanding gained in private reading to an issue relating to child and adolescent mental health that they have identified independently.
Academic and graduate skills:
Students will gain experience in assimilating information to develop an informed personal perspective on an important applied topic in psychology in education.
Students will be able to effectively communicate a reasoned argument, and the evidence underpinning it, in both written and oral forms.
Students will be able to identify and synthesise a range of sources e.g. academic articles, media and policy documents and critically evaluate their reliability, validity and relevance.
Students will be able to analyse ways in which theories and data from different disciplines can inform each other and can be applied in different contexts to enhance understanding.
Students will work proactively and autonomously to select and manage information and use this to engage effectively in debate.
The following is a list of indicative topics for this module:
Mental health as a concept. Students will learn about the key terms used when discussing mental health, distinguishing between mental wellbeing and mental illness.
Risk factors. Students will learn about the underlying psychological theory related to risk factors for poor mental health in children and adolescents and how these manifest (e.g. bullying, poverty, attachment, etc.)
Special educational needs and mental health. Students will be introduced to a number of neurodevelopmental conditions and asked, in groups, to design and present to their peers an intervention to support children with a specific educational need (e.g. autism, developmental language disorder, dyslexia etc.).
Self harm and suicide. Students will learn about risk factors for self-harm, understand why adolescents self-harm and consider the link between self-harm and suicidal behaviour.
Body image and disordered eating. Students will be introduced to different types of disordered eating and clinical eating disorders. They will learn about risk factors for disordered eating, focusing on body image, and consider how risk can be mitigated.
Digital technology and mental health. Students will learn how and why digital technologies (e.g. social media, apps and wearables) contribute to mental health in both positive and negative ways. They will also consider the problems associated with researching this topic.
% of module mark
Essay/coursework Essay - 3000 words
Special assessment rules
Additional assessment information
Students will receive in-session formative feedback after the problem based learning sessions. Students will also receive formative feedback on essay plans.
% of module mark
Essay/coursework Essay - 3000 words
Written feedback on assignment report sheet and face-to-face feedback in supervisions. The feedback is returned to students in line with university policy. Please check the Guide to Assessment, Standards, Marking and Feedback for more information.
Blake, S., Bird, J., Gerlach, L. (2007). Promoting Emotional and Social Development in Schools: A Practical Guide. London: Sage.
Centifanti, L.C. & Williams, D.M. (2017) The Wiley Handbook of Developmental Psychopathology. London: Wiley Blackwell.
Dwivedi, K.N., & Harper, P. B. (2004). Promoting the Emotional Well Being of Children and Adolescents and Preventing Their Mental Ill Health: A Handbook. London : Jessica Kingsley.
Hulme, C., & Snowling, M. J. (2009). Developmental Disorders of Language Learning and Cognition. Hoboken : Wiley.
Howard, C., Burton, M., Levermore, D., & Barrell, R. (2017). Children's Mental Health and Emotional Well-Being in Primary Schools. London: Sage.
Nash, P. (2006) The assessment & management of psychosocial aspects of reading and language impairments. In: M. Snowling & J.Stackhouse (Eds) Dyslexia, speech & language: A practitioner’s handbook. Chapter 13. 2nd ed. London: Whurr.
Bronfenbrenner, U. (1994) Ecological models of human development. In International Encyclopedia of Education, Vol 3, 2nd Edition. Oxford: Elsevier.
van Harmelen A-L, Gibson JL, St Clair MC, Owens M, Brodbeck J, Dunn V, et al. (2016) Friendships and Family Support Reduce Subsequent Depressive Symptoms in At-Risk Adolescents. PLoS ONE 11(5): e0153715. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0153715