Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology

Course description Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology
Year: 2017-2018
Catalog number: 6463PS006
  • Prof.dr. C.J. Rieffe
  • Dr. A.C. Miers
Language: English
Blackboard: Yes
EC: 10.0
Level: 400
Period: Semester 1 / 2, Block I, III
Hours of study: 280:00 hrs
  • No Elective choice
  • No Contractonderwijs
  • Yes Exchange
  • Yes Study Abroad
  • No Evening course
  • No A la Carte
  • No Honours Class

Entry requirements

All first-year courses must have been successfully completed. Students doing a minor do not need to meet the requirements mentioned but do have to make sure they are well prepared, and know the basics of Statistics (relevant literature will be provided).


In this specialisation course we will study the development of emotional competence and its links with psychopathology.

In the first 4 lectures, the functionality of emotions and the process of emotion socialization are central themes. What do children need to learn to become emotionally competent, how do they learn this, and what is the role of the social environment in this process? Special attention will be given to groups with communicative impairments, i.e. an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), a Specific Language Impairment (SLI), or children who are deaf or hard of hearing (DHH). Studying emotion socialization in these groups as compared to normally developing peers can increase our understanding of the necessity for learning about all aspects of emotions in a social context. Aspects of emotional competence that will be dealt with are
• Emotion expression and communication
• emotion awareness and regulation
• Social emotions and understanding others’ emotions

In the second 4 lectures different aspects of emotional competence will be applied to social and interpersonal problems and psychopathology in children and adolescents. A central question is, what happens when the process of emotion socialization goes awry, what are the consequences for children and adolescents? The lectures will consider how deficits in emotional competence contribute to psychopathology, both internalizing and externalizing problems. The lectures will also discuss how psychopathology may hinder the emotion socialization process. For example, how does an extremely anxious child learn to regulate his/her emotions? We will also pay attention to the question of how knowledge about emotional competence can be used in the treatment of youth psychopathology. Example aspects of emotional competence and psychopathology that may be dealt with are
• Emotional competence and social adjustment
• Emotion regulation, rumination, and internalizing psychopathology
• Emotion regulation and externalizing psychopathology
• Empathy, social relationships and psychopathology

Course objectives

• Students will be able to critically read and discuss the recent developmental literature based on scientific articles. These articles cover 1. current emotion theories, especially those which focus on development during infancy, childhood and adolescence; 2. the influence of various interpersonal and intrapersonal factors on emotion-socialisation( e.g., different groups with communicative impairments); 3. developmental psychopathology in relation to emotional competence deficits. This provides students with tools to keep up to date with the newest insights in their field once they’ve entered the workplace.
• Students will be able to explore a given topic in-depth and critically think about the operationalization of the topics discussed into an assessment tool. This prepares the students for conducting research in the workplace.
•Students will gain relevant experience for the workplace through conducting assessments of children, data analysis, preparation and presentation of results in a professional manner during the workgroup sessions.


For the timetables of your lectures, workgroups, and exams, select your study programme.
Psychology timetables

Semester 1:
Work group sessions

Semester 2:
Work group sessions



Students need to register for lectures, workgroups and exams.
Instructions for registration in courses for the 2nd and 3rd year


Elective students have to enroll for each course separately. For admission requirements contact your study advisor.

Exchange/Study abroad

For admission requirements, please contact your exchange coordinator.


Students are not automatically enrolled for an examination. They can register via uSis from 100 to 10 calendar days before the date; students who are not registered will not be permitted to take the examination.
Registering for exams

Mode of instruction

The course comprises 8 lectures and 8 work group sessions. For the work group sessions students will be asked to explore a topic from the lectures in more detail and develop an assessment tool. This tool will be used for the assessment of a small number of children, after which the data obtained will be analysed by students (independently) in SPSS. Students will also be asked to consider and formulate predictions about how youth with different forms of psychopathology might differ from typically developing youth on their assessment tool. The last two work group sessions will be used to present the findings to members of the work group. In addition, during work group sessions, students will discuss issues based on exam questions and statements that are related to the scientific articles that have been studied. These discussions must be prepared by the students individually, prior to the work group meeting.

Lectures and work group sessions will take up to a total of 80 hours, including the research and preparation of the assignments. In addition, students are expected to spend 200 hours preparing for the examination.

Weblectures will be available.

Assessment method

Participation to all work groups is mandatory. The final grade for CCAP will be based on:
1. Grade for the exam (60%). The exam consists of 8 open-ended essay questions.
2. Grade for assignments (40%) during working groups (active participation during group discussion; development new instrument; final presentation of assignment).

Regulations on grade calculations

The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences has instituted that instructors use a software programme for the systematic detection of plagiarism in students’ written work. In case of fraud disciplinary actions will be taken. Please see the information concerning fraud.

Reading list

Assigned articles, lectures and lectures slides are included as exam material.

The following reading list is provisional:

Lecture 1: Emotion Theories
• Scherer, K.R. (2000). Emotion. In M. Hewstone & W. Stroebe (Eds.). Introduction to Social Psychology: A European perspective (3rd. ed., pp. 151-191). Oxford: Blackwell.

Lecture 2: Emotion Expression
• Jenkins, J.M. & Ball, S. (2000). Distinguishing between negative emotions: Children’s understanding of the social-regulatory aspects of emotion. Cognition and Emotion, 14, 261-282.
• Kerr, M.A. & Schneider, B.H. (2008). Anger expression in children and adolescents: A review of the empirical literature. Clinical Psychology Review, 28, 559-577.
• Messinger, D. (2008). Smiling. In: M. M. Haith & J. B. Benson (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Infant and Early Childhood Development, Vol. 3, pp. 186-198. Oxford: Elsevier.

Lecture 3: Emotion Regulation
• Fields, L. & Prinz, R.J. (1997). Coping and adjustment during childhood and adolescence. Clinical Psychology Review, 17, 937-976.
• Rieffe, C., Meerum Terwogt, M., & Kotronopoulou, K. (2007). Awareness of single and multiple emotions in high-functioning children with autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 37, 455-465.

Lecture 4: Social emotions
• Ketelaar, L., Wiefferink, C. H., Frijns, J. H. M., Broekhof, E. & Rieffe, C. (2015). Preliminary findings on associations between moral emotions and social behavior in young children with normal hearing and with cochlear implants. European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. doi: 10.1007/s00787-015-0688-2

Lecture 5: Emotional competence and social adjustment
• von Salisch, M. (2001). Children’s emotional development: Challenges to their relationships to parents, peers, and friends. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 25, 310-319.
• Blair, B. L., et al. (2015). Identifying developmental cascades among differentiated dimensions of social competence and emotion regulation. Developmental Psychology, 51, 1062-1073.

Lecture 6: Emotional competence and anxiety
• Blote, A.W., et al. (2015). The Speech Performance observation scale for youth (SPOSY): Assessing social performance characteristics related to social anxiety. Journal of Experimental Psychopathology, 6, 168-184.
• Gunther Moor, B., et al. (2014). Peer rejection cues induce cardiac slowing after transition to adolescence. Developmental Psychology, 50, 947-955.
• Haller, S.P.W., Kadosh, K.C., & Lau, J.Y.F. (2014). A developmental angle to undersntading the mechanisms of biased cognitions in social anxiety. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 7, article 846.

Lecture 7: Emotional competence and depression
• Sheeber, L et al. (2009). Dynamics of affective experience and behavior in depressed adolescents. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 50, 1419-1427.
• Sanders, W. et al. (2015). Child regulation of negative emotions and depressive symptoms: The moderating role of parental emotion socialization. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 24, 402-415.

Lecture 8: Emotional competence as a transdiagnostic factor
• McLaughlin, K.A., & Nolen-Hoeksma, S. (2011). Rumination as a transdiagnostic factor in depression and aniety. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 49, 183-193.
• Deschamps, P. K. H., Schutter, D. J. L. G., Kenemans, J. L., & Matthys, W. (2015). Empathy and prosocial behavior in response to sadness and distress in 6- to 7- year olds diagnosed with disruptive behavior disorder and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 24, 105-113.

Contact information