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ZUG3053 - Child and Adult Psychopathology

Undergraduate – Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.


Faculty of Social and Health Sciences


South Africa

  • First Semester 2021 (Day)

15 Credits


The principal aim of this module is to provide an introduction to the field of psychopathology and to the theoretical underpinnings of psychological dysfunctions and pathologies. The module explains the contexts and scope of child and adult psychopathology within South Africa, the African continent and internationally. It addresses the pivotal role of theoretical frameworks (e.g., biological, psychological and sociocultural perspectives) applicable to understanding psychological disorders. The module aims to develop competencies in the use of diagnostic systems to inform treatment planning and the broader intervention prospects. Classic and current theories and research findings regarding the symptomatology, the causes, and the treatment of different child and adult psychopathologies will be considered. The controversial and contentious issues of the field will be critically explored.


  • Relate their knowledge of personality, basic biological processes and human development to child and adult psychopathologies.
  • Describe the context of child and adult psychopathology in South Africa and internationally.
  • Critically discuss the role and relevance of theoretical frameworks (e.g., biological, psychological, psychosocial approaches) applicable to understanding various psychological disorders.
  • Describe the major types of psychological disorders and their symptomatology using the DSM nomenclature.
  • Analyse the relevance of developmental considerations, issues of diversity and contextual factors for the conceptualisation of the etiology and treatment approaches to psychological disorders.
  • Critically evaluate previous research in the area of child and adult psychopathology and apply knowledge to substantiate formulations in relation to diagnosis and treatment of psychological disorders.
  • Describe ethical issues applicable to the diagnosis and treatment of psychological disorders.


Within semester/Formative assessment: 50%
Examination/Summative assessment: 50%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this module is 150 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. Independent study may include associated readings, assessment and preparation for scheduled activities. The module requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.