Parental cognition, psychopathology and behaviour

School of Psychology

College of Life and Environmental Sciences


Code 21141

Level of study Third/Final year

Credit value 20

Semester 1

Module description

This option will cover current cognitive and affective theories of parenting and examine the links between parenting practice and child outcome. We will examine and evaluate cognitive and affective predictors of parenting practice including attachment, mind-mindedness, parental styles, parental beliefs and values, and ‘core’ beliefs. We will locate these predictors within broader models of parenting such as ecological and systems models, and examine some cultural variations in models and practices. We will examine intergenerational transmission of parenting practice, including the intergenerational transmission of attachment, and explanations for the ‘transmission gap’. We will then examine the effects of parental psychopathology on parenting cognition, emotion and behaviour, and will assess the effects of a range of parental psychopathologies on child social, emotional and cognitive outcome.

Lecture topics:
Theories of parenting: ecological and cognitive models, cultural variations.
Parenting styles and their outcomes: ‘good enough’ parenting, domain specificity
Attachment and its developmental outcomes
Cognitive approaches to parenting practices: mind-mindedness, core beliefs, parental beliefs
Intergenerational transmission of parenting behaviours and attachment
Mental Health problems in parents, their impact on parenting cognition & behaviour, and their effects on child cognition/emotion/social behaviour:
Postnatal depression & depressed parents
Anxiety Disorders
Eating Disorders
Extreme mental health problems incl. schizophrenia and post-puerperal psychosis

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures and workshops