Adult Development and Mental Health

Module summary

Module code: PSYC1066
Level: 6
Credits: 15
School: Education, Health and Human Sci
Department: Human Sciences
Module Coordinator(s): Oliver Robinson


Pre and co requisites



The module has four principal aims. Firstly, it aims to introduce and critically discuss the historical development and central concepts of the biopsychosocial approach to lifespan development and adult development. Secondly it aims to provide critical overviews of theoretically-focused and applied areas of research on adult development and ageing. Thirdly it aims to critically evaluate the relationship between mental health / mental disorder, adult life events and ageing. The fourth and final aim is to engage students in a reflective process of relating the theory, research and interventions they learn about to their own life and to their experience on the module.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student will be able to:
1 Understand and critically evaluate conceptual and historical underpinnings of adult development theories.
2 Evaluate and compare different methods and designs used in adult development research and epidemiological ageing research.
3 Integrate research and theory on emotional, moral and personality changes and challenges that adults face, and debate their relation to life events.
4 Discuss how positive mental health and mental disorder are related to the module of adult life, the family life cycle and significant life events.
5 Reflect on the relevance of adult development research and theory to real-life settings.

Indicative content

• Discussion of the legal and theoretical nature of adulthood and the biopsychosocial framework.
• Theories of mental disorder and mental health with a lifespan developmental approach.
• Research on stressful life events and mental disorder onset/relapse, e.g. postnatal depression, post-traumatic stress disorder.
• Degenerative disorders, such as dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
• Quantitative and qualitative methods for studying lifespan development research
• Longitudinal and cross-sectional research designs for studying change over time.
• Post-formal cognitive development theories and cognitive ageing models.
• Emotional development and motivational development theory and research.
• Research on life transitions, crises and psychosocial life stages.
• Theories of adult change in morality, wisdom, spirituality and religiosity.
• Personality development and ego development research and theory.
• Career development and retirement theory and research.
• Bereavement and dying; models and research.

Teaching and learning activity

• Interactive lectures
• Participative Exercises
• Group discussions
• Assessment workshops
• Videos
• Thought experiments


Research Focussed Essay - 100%
LO - 1-5.
2500 words.
The assessment is an essay in which a literature review of a defined topic is followed by an original research and intervention proposal that has applied benefit for a particular age group or life stage. It will need to be empirically and theoretically grounded in adult development research, innovative, and will link different topics from the module together. It will comprise of the following sections:
- Literature review
- Research / intervention concept outline and method
- Impact: discussing possible real-world implications and potential benefits of research and intervention
Pass mark - 40%

Nature of FORMATIVE assessment supporting student learning:
Regular multiple choice quizzes.
Interactive sessions during which students develop and discuss aspects of their research concept and literature review, and get verbal feedback from peers and course leader.