12612 - Psychopathology of Development

Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Francesca Agostini

  • Learning modules Francesca Agostini (Modulo 1)
    Elena Trombini (Modulo 2)

  • Credits 8

  • SSD M-PSI/08

  • Teaching Mode Traditional lectures (Modulo 1)
    Traditional lectures (Modulo 2)

  • Language Italian

  • Campus of Bologna

  • Degree Programme First cycle degree programme (L) in Educator in Childhood Social Services (cod. 9083)

  • Course Timetable from Feb 22, 2022 to Apr 21, 2022

    Course Timetable from Mar 15, 2022 to Apr 20, 2022


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Good health and well-being Quality education

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course the student:-will know the main contributions and theories in developmental psychopathology; -will know the main parenting issues and the most important disorders regarding parenthood; -will know the main clinical psychopathological disorders regarding first and second childhood, their relational perspective, their possible expression in the institutional contexts; -will know the main observational techniques based on psychodynamic approach in the contexts of the first and second childhood; -will know the main techniques of observation based on psychodynamic approach for the first and second childhood.

Course contents

The lessons will take place in the second semester (February-May 2022) in Bologna, in the halls of Zamboni Street, 32 and are aimed at students of the 3rd year of Laurea in Educatore nei Servizi per l'Infanzia.

Course contents:

1. Theoretical Background:
Developmental psychodynamics - Infant Research - Developmental psychopathology

2. Diagnostic and clinical assessment:
Classification systems – Instruments for clinical observation and assessment of caregiver-child interactions -  Instruments for assessment of risk and protective factors for child

3.The parental role:
Transition to parenthood - Risk and protective factors - Parental psychopathology

4. Main psychopathological disorders in infancy: 
Regulation disorders - Affective disorders – Sleeping disorders– Attachment disorders – Psychosomatic disorders – Feeding disorders - Evacuation disorders

5. Prevention:
Techniques of prevention for feeding disorders in preschool and school age - Techniques of prevention for evacuation disorders during childhood

6. Outdoor Education and implications for child mental health


For the exam, the student has to study the following 4 books:

Ammaniti M. (2002). Manuale di psicopatologia dell'infanzia. Raffaello Cortina Editore: Milano. To study only the following chapters: 1 pages12-17, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 13.

Farnè R., Bortolotti A., Terrusi M. (2018). Outdoor Education: prospettive teoriche e buone pratiche. Carocci Editore: Roma. To study only the following chapters: 1, 3, 4 and 5.


Trombini E. (2018) Interventi precoci: la Giocoterapia Focale con bambini e genitori. In A. Imbasciati, L. Cena (a cura di), Il futuro dei primi mille giorni di vita. Psicologia Clinica Perinatale: prevenzione e interventi precoci. Franco Angeli, Milano.

Teaching methods

The course will be characterised by:

1. Frontal lessons on the main theoretical topics

2. Practical activities on instruments for clinical assessment and diagnostic evaluation in childhood

3. Discussion of clinical cases and role-playing

4. Seminars held by invited speakers to deepen specific topics

Assessment methods

The final exam will be a written exam, including 3 open questions. The amount of time for the exam will be of 70 minutes.

The final grade will be determined by the sum of the scores of each question (min-max: 0-10), depending on: 

- no answer or wrong answer: score 0

- incomplete answer or half incorrect answer: 1-3

- sufficient answer but not exhaustive: 4-5

-  quite exhaustive answer, ability in reasoning and use of correct terminology: 6-7 

- exhaustive answer, critical analysis, competence in specific terminology, reasoning and connection: 8-10.

The exam will be passed with a minimum grade of 18/30.

The Laude will be added to the exams with an excellent level of deepening, critical analysis and mastery in the terminology. 

The questions will focus on the contents of the course, already described.

To take the examination it is mandatory to enroll by electronic bulletin board, respecting the deadlines. For those who fail to enroll for technical problems within the due date, it is required to communicate promptly the problem (before the registration list closes officially) to the administrative office. It will be faculty of the teacher to admit the student to the test.

Teaching tools

Videoprojector, DVD, PC.

The teaching material presented during the classes will be distributed by the teacher in electronic format.

Office hours

See the website of Francesca Agostini

See the website of Elena Trombini