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Module PPP-4014:
Top in Child Health and Wellbe

Module Facts

Run by School of Psychology

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 1

Organiser: Dr Mihela Erjavec

Overall aims and purpose

In this module we critically examine some of the key issues in child health and wellbeing, taking a multidisciplinary approach, with an emphasis on developmental context, evidence-based prevention, and behavioural interventions.

This module aims to engender understanding of the following:

• How developmental theories and basic research are applied to real-life issues that affect the health and wellbeing of children • How our theoretical understanding inspires design of interventions and vice versa • How intervention outcomes should be measured and reported to provide valid evaluations of their effectiveness • How to critically evaluate research reports in this domain • How to identify the strengths and weaknesses of various research methods and approaches to child health and wellbeing • How to identify trends by examining psychological literature and other sources

Course content

The module content is updated annually to keep up with interesting research and intervention development. It will include the following topics:

• Introduction to module and assessment methods • Development of food preferences in childhood and the importance of healthy eating • Healthy eating programmes in school and nursery settings • Healthy eating in adolescents: determinants of disordered eating; treatment and interventions • The importance of physical activity for child health; programmes in primary and nursery settings • Growing up with peers: social interactions within a school context; problems associated with bullying; interventions • Parenting variables and family context: effectiveness of parenting programmes • Developmental disabilities and problems: importance of early detection; effective early intervention • Common mental health issues and disorders in childhood and adolescence; treatment options and outcomes • Future of child health and wellbeing; emerging themes

Assessment Criteria


Adequate answer to the question. Some development of arguments. Some inaccuracies. Shows enough evidence of understanding of the material presented in class and reading key texts. Grades given for this level would be in the C range (C-, C, C+) for Masters students.


Reasonably comprehensive coverage. Well organised and structured answers. Good understanding of the material and good evidence of reading and understanding key texts. Grades given for this level would be in the B range (B-, B, B+).


Comprehensive and accurate coverage of the area; clarity of argument and expression. Depth of insight into theoretical issues and evidence of wider reading. Grades given for this level would be in the A range (A-, A, A+, A*).

Learning outcomes

  1. Students completing the module should consider and critically evaluate basic and applied research into child health and wellbeing and its applications in wider societal and cultural context; examine some of its key concepts, ethical issues, and political influences.

  2. They should understand the origins and impact of several important childhood health and wellbeing issues and evaluate the effectiveness of the interventions designed to alleviate these problems.

  3. The students shall understand and integrate work from diverse theoretical and practical approaches to the study of child health and wellbeing, including biological, behavioural, cognitive, and social developmental perspectives.

  4. Working on their own, they will identify scholarly papers that contribute to our understanding of childhood issues and critically evaluate their assumptions, methods, and findings.

  5. The students will be expected to communicate recent research succinctly, in writing and orally, posing and answering questions, and presenting a coherent argument.

  6. Finally, they will examine the broader context in which development occur and understand the roles that carers, families, schools, and society play in determining the behavioural outcomes and choices available to children.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
ORAL Oral presentation of a paper (article) critique

Dates will vary for individual students from Week 3 to Week 9 (6 weeks with up to 5 students per week). Each student will present one paper on a set topic that complements the lecture for that week. They will receive a grade in Week 9 with some comments, and plentiful feedback in class (formative assessment).

Written assignment, including essay Written paper (article) critique

Each student will submit a written critique based on their presentation and feedback received for this work in classes (workshops) and drop-in sessions. Due in Week 11.

EXAM Final Exam

Final exam will contain 20 questions requiring short answers, on all topics covered in the module, and will last two hours. Students can earn up to 5 points per question, determining their % grade as the sum of all points earned out of the total of 100 possible points.


Teaching and Learning Strategy


• Alternating between (i) presenting theoretical and experimental context for each topic and (ii) examining key interventions that improve outcomes and discussing their results. • Students are strongly advised to attend all lectures. • Lecture slides will be made available through Blackboard ahead of each lecture and can be used in class to aid note-taking. • Some media shown in the lectures may be unavailable on Blackboard because of confidentiality and copyright issues.

Timetabling requirements: A lecture room for 30 people with AV facilities, once per week, scheduled before seminars if at all possible.

Private study

• 2 hours for the final exam • 15-20 hours to identify a relevant research paper and prepare a critique to present in class • 10-15 hours to write up this critique for submission (taking into account any feedback received in class) • 5-10 hours of reading per week to master and revise each individual topic • 30 hours to revise / prepare for the final exam


WORKSHOPS: 2 hours each week • Alternating between (i) students' presentations containing critique of relevant research papers and (ii) group discussions; class demonstrations; assignment Q&A sessions

Timetabling requirements: A seminar room for 30 people with AV facilities, once per week, scheduled after lectures if at all possible.


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
  • Caring - Showing concern for others; caring for children, people with disabilities and/or the elderly
  • Management - Able to utilise, coordinate and control resources (human, physical and/or financial)
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others
  • Leadership - Able to lead and manage, develop action plans and objectives, offer guidance and direction to others, and cope with the related pressures such authority can result in

Subject specific skills

  • Understand the scientific underpinnings of psychology as a discipline.
  • Apply multiple perspectives to psychological issues and integrate ideas and findings across the multiple perspectives in psychology.
  • Communicate psychological concepts effectively in written form.
  • Communicate psychological concepts effectively in oral form.
  • Be computer literate for the purpose of processing and disseminating psychological data and information.
  • Retrieve and organise information effectively.
  • Handle primary source material critically.
  • Engage in effective teamwork for the purpose of collaborating on psychological projects.
  • Use effectively personal planning and project management skills.
  • Work effectively under pressure (time pressure, limited resources, etc) as independent and pragmatic learners.
  • Problem-solve by clarifying questions, considering alternative solutions, making critical judgements, and evaluating outcomes.
  • Reason scientifically and demonstrate the relationship between theory and evidence.
  • Comprehend and use psychological data effectively, demonstrating a systematic knowledge of the application and limitations of various research paradigms and techniques.
  • Employ evidence-based reasoning and examine practical, theoretical and ethical issues associated with the use of different methodologies, paradigms and methods of analysis in psychology.
  • Be aware of ethical principles and approval procedures.


Resource implications for students

None. Journal articles and other assigned reading do not need to be printed and can be read on a portable device.

Talis Reading list

Reading list

Topic specific journal articles will be made available via the University Talis reading list in BlackBoard.


Erjavec, M.; Viktor, S.; Horne, P.; & Lowe, C.F. (2012) Implementing a healthy eating programme: changing children's eating habits for life. Community practitioner, 85(4), 39-40.

Salmivalli, C., Kärnä, A., & Poskiparta, E. (2011) Counteracting bullying in Finland: The KiVa program and its effects on different forms of being bullied. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 35, 405-411.

Courses including this module

Optional in courses: