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Issues in Families and Development

University of Warwick

Department of Psychology 2019/20

Module Code:


Module Name:

Issues in Families and Development

Module Credits (CATS):


Module Convener

Fiona MacCallum / Hester Duffy

Module Teachers

Module Aims

This is an advanced module focusing on child development in unusual circumstances, whether because of the family situation or a disorder of development. The first part of the module will focus on different family structures, including single parent families, same-sex couple families, families created using assisted reproduction, and adoptive families. The significance of other family factors, such as parental psychological health and interparental relationships, for child development will also be considered.

The second part of the module will focus on difficulties and disorders of development, including dyslexia, autism, attention deficit disorder and language impairment. Issues in the definition and diagnosis of developmental disorders will also be examined.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the module, students should be able to:

  • Assess the influence of interparental conflict and parental psychiatric disorder on children’s psychological development
  • Understand how family structure can affect development, with particular reference to parental absence and non-genetic relationships
  • Identify the aspects of parenting and child development that may differ between natural conception families and those created through assisted reproduction or adoption, and explain the reasons for these differences
  • Consider the issues involved in prognosis of children with developmental disorders, and how these can be affected by intervention
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the symptoms and possible causes of a range of developmental difficulties, including autism, language impairment and ADHD
  • Show an understanding of the interaction between genetics and the environment in determining a child’s development.

Assessed by:

1 essay - choice of 3 titles

1 unseen exam in summer

Module Work Load

Module Length

12 weeks


One 2-hour lecture per week


One seminar per week


Attendance at lectures and seminars is compulsory

Module Assessment

Assessed work:


Exam: One two-hour unseen examination


Module Reading List