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The Transition to Parenthood - PSY00066M

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  • Department: Psychology
  • Module co-ordinator: Prof. Elizabeth Meins
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2021-22

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Spring Term 2021-22

Module aims

Pregnancy and the first months of life are periods of huge change and adjustment for both the parent and child. This module will cover the psychological and emotional experience of becoming a parent, dealing with the typical course of pregnancy and the postpartum period, as well as parental psychopathology during this time. We will explore the psychosocial consequences of infertility, miscarriage and stillbirth. The module will also consider how assisted conception and surrogacy impact on the transition to parenthood in both heterosexual and gay and lesbian couples. We will deal with the different ways in which infant–parent interaction is characterised, and consider how individual differences in these aspects of the early parent–child relationship predict children’s later development.

Students enrolling on this module should demonstrate a good understanding of core knowledge in cognitive psychology, as well as intermediate skills in quantitative statistical analyses.

Module learning outcomes

  • To understand the typical course of pregnancy and the postpartum period, evaluating perspectives that view events in pregnancy as playing a critical role in shaping development postpartum
  • To evaluate the extent to which parental psychopathology impacts on the transition to parenthood
  • To evaluate critically how different experiences relating to conception, pregnancy or childbirth impact on the parent and parent–child relationship
  • To compare and contrast different characterisations of individual differences in early parent–child interaction and the extent to which they play independent roles in predicting children’s development

Module content

  • Prenatal development
  • Typical psychological and emotional experiences in the transition to parenthood
  • Depression, anxiety disorders, substance abuse and psychosis
  • Infertility and assisted conception
  • Miscarriage and stillbirth
  • The transition to parenthood in gay and lesbian couples
  • Parental sensitivity
  • Parental mind-mindedness
  • Parent–infant attachment


Task Length % of module mark
N/A 40
Online Exam - 24 hrs (Centrally scheduled)
The Transition to Parenthood
N/A 60

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
N/A 40
Online Exam - 24 hrs (Centrally scheduled)
The Transition to Parenthood
N/A 60

Module feedback

The marks on all assessed work will be provided on e-vision.

These marks will be accompanied by module feedback forms which will be circulated by e-mail.

Students will meet supervisors in wk 6 in AuT, SpT and wk 9 in SuT to discuss their marks.

Indicative reading

Wenzel, A. (Ed.) (2016). The Oxford Handbook of Perinatal Psychology. Oxford University Press.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.