Psychology 2320B-001

Abnormal Child Psychology

If there is a discrepancy between the outline posted below and the outline posted on the OWL course website, the latter shall prevail.


This is a theory course designed to introduce the wide-ranging theories of developmental psychopathology in children and adolescents. Topics will include the major DSM-5 diagnostic categories for childhood disorders, as well as research and treatment. The course orientation is empirical, with an emphasis on recent research findings with this population.


Antirequisites: Psychology 2042A/B, 2043A/B, 3320F/G


Antirequisites are courses that overlap sufficiently in content that only one can be taken for credit.  So if you take a course that is an antirequisite to a course previously taken, you will lose credit for the earlier course, regardless of the grade achieved in the most recent course.


Prerequisite: At least 60% in a 1000 level Psychology course 2 lecture hours and 1 tutorial hour, 0.5 course


Unless you have either the requisites for this course or written special permission from your Dean to enroll in it, you may be removed from this course and it will be deleted from your record. This decision may not be appealed. You will receive no adjustment to your fees in the event that you are dropped from a course for failing to have the necessary prerequisites.


INSTRUCTOR:                                              Graham J. Reid, Ph.D., Associate Professor

Office and Phone Number:                              Westminster Hall, Room 319E

519-661-2111 (x84677)

Office Hours:                                                  Thurs 1:30-2:30, or by appointment




Name:                                                              Aviva Blacher

Office:                                                             WH-West 60K

Office Hours:                                                  By Appointment


Tutorial Sections                                              002 & 003

Name:                                                              Catalina Sarmiento

Office:                                                             WH-West 60K

Office Hours:                                                  By Appointment


Tutorial Sections                                              004 & 005


Name:                                                              Matthew Vandermeer

Office:                                                             WIRB 2170

Office Hours:                                                  Wednesdays, 12 pm or By Appointment


Tutorial Sections                                              007

If you or someone you know is experiencing distress, there are several resources here at Western to assist you.  Please visit: for more information on these resources and on mental health.

Please contact the course instructor if you require material in an alternate format or if you require any other arrangements to make this course more accessible to you. You may also wish to contact Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) at 519-661-2111 ext 82147 for any specific question regarding an accommodation.



Mash, E.J. & Wolfe, D.A. (2016). Abnormal Child Psychology (6th ed.).

Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning. wolfe/dp/9781305105423


Textbook companion site: wadsworth/ 23&token=4970A5FBF26AD0A49674E99179BCBD63735BD8E0A68CA28D2






American Psychological Association (2009). Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.


The goal of this course is to familiarize you with current concepts and research on major psychological and mental disorders of childhood, including issues of assessment, prevalence, course, major etiological theories, and treatment. Class meetings will consist of lectures that give a broad overview of the topic for that class, and tutorials designed to provide the opportunity for greater in‐depth discussion and exploration of specific topics.


Upon successful completion of this course, students should be able to:



  • Describe key concepts, principles, and overarching themes relevant to abnormal child psychology.



  • Define the features and diagnostic criteria relevant to psychological problems amongst children and y



  • Explain the current conceptual frameworks for understanding developmental disturbances in childhood and youth;



  • Explain current approaches for the assessment, prevention and treatment of psychological problems amongst children and y



  • Critically appraise information related to abnormal psychological problems of children and youth reported in the media in light of the relevant scientific eviden



Evaluation Summary



ASSIGNMENTS                         DEADLINES                                            EVALUATION

  • Tutorial participation Every tutorial class                                   10%

  • Mid-term exam Sat March 3 – 9:30 to 11:30 EC 2168A & EC 2168B

(Elborn College)



  • Final exam As scheduled during final exam period    40%
    • “In the News” assignment 1 Feb 6; Before midnight                             5%
    • “In the News” assignment 2 Apr 3; Before midnight                            10%

5.1)  Participation

Participation should be a natural extension of your preparation for class. A grade for participation will be based on your teaching assistant’s assessment of  the quality of your participation. You have to say something, but what you say is more important than how much you say. Quality participation is a reflection of your mastery of required readings and reflected in thoughtful questioning, raising points/issues you encounter in the reading, and your involvement in seminars.

Evaluation: A mark for class participation will be assigned for each tutorial class. You will receive feedback at least by the mid-term and again at the end of the course. Class participation will count for 10% of the course grade.


5.2)  Mid-term Exam

The mid-term exam will consist primarily of multiple-choice questions, along with matching, fill in the blank, and short-answer questions as well. ANY material from the textbook or lectures may be selected for the exam. No "aids" are allowed.

Evaluation: The mid-term exam will count for 35% of the course grade.


5.3)  Final Exam

There will be a final examination. The exam will consist primarily of multiple-choice questions, along with matching, fill in the blank, and short-answer questions. The final exam is not fully cumulative per se, but some questions will require integration of material covered prior to the midterm. About 80% of the exam will cover material not previously tested in the midterm; the remainder, about 20% will include material previously tested material. As such, ANY material from the textbook or lectures may be selected for the exam. No "aids" are allowed.

Evaluation: The final exam will count for 40% of the course grade.


5.4)  “Abnormal Child Psychology - In the News” Assignments

Two “In the News” assignments are to be submitted during the course. The first is due by Feb 6 and the second by Apr 3. You are encouraged to hand in the assignments earlier than the due dates. NB: No extensions will be given; late assignments will be given a grade of zero.


Each assignment will be a maximum of 2 pages in length (double spaced; 12 point font; Times New Roman; 1 inch margins). For each of these assignments, you are to find a recent news article from a newspaper or newsmagazine that directly relates to some aspect of abnormal psychology amongst children and youth that is covered in this course; the article can be from a newspaper’s website, but not a blog or other type of website; not a scholarly journal; not a health or science magazine such as Scientific American. For example, it could be a report of recently published research on the causes or treatment of a particular mental disorder that we are covering in the course, a change in policy or legislation in Canada or one of the provinces in relation to children or youth with mental health problems, new programs/services being offered for children or youth with mental health problems in Canada or one of the provinces, etc. The article: (a) should have been published in 2017 or 2018, (b) the original source must be in English and (c) should be a news source from Canada, United States, the UK, New Zealand, or Australia.


Your assignment is to critically discuss the significance of the news article you have chosen with reference to a related section within a chapter of the textbook, which you should identify by page number.


Your assignment should contain:

(1) brief summary of the article; (2) brief summary linking the article to the relevant textbook chapter section (referenced by page number); (3) critical discussion; (4) your personal reaction to the article.

Your critical  discussion should include such issues as: how the article confirms, complements, or contradicts something presented in the identified section of the text; how the article contributes to our understanding of some aspect of mental disorders; potential implications for mental health care; issues that should be investigated further; weaknesses of the article, such as scientific inaccuracy or bias, etc.

Your reaction to the article could include something that was surprising to you, something you learned, how it made you think differently about an issue, etc.


You may not choose the same topic for the first and second assignments. The first assignment must be on a topic from chapters 1 to 6; the second assignment must be on a topic in chapters 8 through 14.


Evaluation: The assignment must be typed with your name and student number at the top of the page. A copy (scanned or PDF) of the newspaper article must be attached to your assignment, containing the date and name of the newspaper; for on-line articles the URL should also be included.


Assignments must be uploaded to the course website, or emailed to the TA in the case of technical difficulties with the website, before the deadline. The file type for submissions should be PDF or something that can be read in Microsoft Word (e.g., *.docx, *.doc, *.rtf, *.odt) .


Grades for these assignments will be based on the clarity and organization of your writing, the accuracy and depth of your understanding of the topic as reflected in your coverage of each of the 4 elements in the assignment listed above, and the demonstration of critical thinking skills. The “In the News” assignments will constitute 15% of your final grade (5% for the first assignment; 10% for the second).

Although the Psychology Department does not require instructors to adjust their course grades to conform to specific targets, the expectation is that course marks will be distributed around the following averages:

70%     1000-level and 2000-level courses
72%     2190-2990 level courses
75%     3000-level courses
80%     4000-level courses
The Psychology Department follows the University of Western Ontario grading guidelines, which are as follows (see ):

A+  90-100      One could scarcely expect better from a student at this level
A    80-89        Superior work that is clearly above average
B    70-79        Good work, meeting all requirements, and eminently satisfactory
C    60-69        Competent work, meeting requirements
D    50-59        Fair work, minimally acceptable
F    below 50    Fail






Mid Term Exam

Sat, March 3


9:30 to 11:30

EC 2168A & EC 2168B

(Elborn College)

Final Exam

Exam period April 14-30










G. Reid


2:30- 4:30 PM

HSB 240






Section 2

Aviva Blacher


09:30-10:30 AM

SSC 3024

Section 3

Aviva Blacher


10:30-11:30 AM

SSC 3024

Section 4

Catalina Sarmiento


09:30-10:30 AM

SSC 3006

Section 5

Catalina Sarmiento


10:30-11:30 AM

SSC 3006

Section 7

Matthew Vandermeer


10:30-11:30 AM

SSC 3014

  • Lecture & Tutorial Schedule










Jan 9


Course overview


Introduction to Abnormal Child Psychology

Ch 1



Jan 11

Introduction to Tutorials



Jan 16


Theories and Causes

Ch 2, 3




Jan 18



See class website for readings

( Janson & Mathiesen 2008)


Jan 23


Assessment, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Ch 4



Jan 25

Diagnosis: For or Against

No readings


Jan 30


Intellectual Disability

Ch 5



Feb 1

Building inclusive communities

See class website for readings


Feb 6


Autism  Spectrum Disorder

Ch 6




“In the News” – First assignment DUE




Feb 8

Childhood-Onset Schizophrenia

Ch 6


Feb 13


Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

Ch 8



Feb 15

To medicate or not to medicate

No readings


Feb 20


Reading Week break – no lecture




Feb 22

Reading Week break – no tutorials



Feb 27


Conduct Problems

Ch 9




Mar 1

Pathways to anti-social behavior and adult


See class website for readings

(Moffitt 1993)



Mar 3

Mid Term Exam



Mar 6


Depressive and Bipolar Disorders

Ch 10




Mar 8


Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder

See class website for readings

(Krieger 2013 & Mikita 2013)


Mar 13


Anxiety Disorders

Ch 11




Mar 15


Prevention of Anxiety Disorders

See class website for readings

(Rapee 2010)   )


Mar 20


Trauma- and Stressor-Related Disorders

Ch 12



Mar 22


Ch 12


Mar 27


Health-Related Disorders

Ch 13



Mar 29

Substance Use

Ch 13


Apr 3


Feeding & Eating Disorders

Ch 14




“In the News” – Second assignment DUE




Apr 5

Tutorial Material Exam Review- Session

No readings


Apr 10


Exam Review- Session




Apr 12

No Tutorial – Western Study Day








Note: Adjustments may be made to our class schedule and readings, as required.


Access to articles to be discussed in tutorials is available through Western’s Library system. The full citation for each article, with a link to the library system, is provided on the course website


Students are responsible for understanding the nature and avoiding the occurrence of plagiarism and other scholastic offenses. Plagiarism and cheating are considered very serious offenses because they undermine the integrity of research and education. Actions constituting a scholastic offense are described at the following link:

As of Sept. 1, 2009, the Department of Psychology will take the following steps to detect scholastic offenses. All multiple-choice tests and exams will be checked for similarities in the pattern of responses using reliable software, and records will be made of student seating locations in all tests and exams. All written assignments will be submitted to TurnItIn, a service designed to detect and deter plagiarism by comparing written material to over 5 billion pages of content located on the Internet or in TurnItIn’s databases. All papers submitted for such checking will be included as source documents in the reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism of papers subsequently submitted to the system. Use of the service is subject to the licensing agreement, currently between Western and

Possible penalties for a scholastic offense include failure of the assignment, failure of the course, suspension from the University, and expulsion from the University.


Western’s policy on Accommodation for Medical Illness can be found at: 

Students must see the Academic Counsellor and submit all required documentation in order to be approved for certain accommodation:


Office of the Registrar web site:

Student Development Services web site:

Please see the Psychology Undergraduate web site for information on the following:

- Policy on Cheating and Academic Misconduct
- Procedures for Appealing Academic Evaluations
- Policy on Attendance
- Policy Regarding Makeup Exams and Extensions of Deadlines
- Policy for Assignments
- Short Absences
- Extended Absences
- Documentation
- Academic Concerns
- 2017 Calendar References

No electronic devices, including cell phones and smart watches, will be allowed during exams.

SDC’s Learning Skills Services, Rm 4100 WSS,

LS counsellors are ready to help you improve your learning skills. They offer presentations on strategies for improving time management, multiple-choice exam preparation/writing, textbook reading, and more.

Peer support is offered throughout the Fall/Winter terms in the drop-in PAL Centre, and Individual Counselling is available year round.



Students are welcome to meet with the instructor to discuss any aspects of their evaluation that are not clear. Students may appeal any mark given in the course. To ensure that concerns are fairly reviewed, students wishing to have a grade reviewed must submit a brief note outlining the specific concerns regarding the grade and justification for grade revision. An appeal must include: (a) the original material submitted (if material was returned) and (b) a written statement by the student of the issue(s) with the grading. The statement should include the specific aspect of the grading in question and his/her rationale for why a grade should be altered. The original material will be re-graded and reviewed along with the rationale for the appeal. The mark as re-graded by the instructor will be the final mark. This mark may be higher or lower than the original grade.