ASC5009 - Developmental factors: Children and families, youth and early interventions - 2018

12 points, SCA Band 2, 0.250 EFTSL

Postgraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.


Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Organisational Unit

Eastern Health Clinical School

Chief examiner(s)

Ms Shirley Gill


Ms Shirley Gill
Dr Debbie Scott

Not offered in 2018


This unit begins with a focus on child and adolescent biopsychosocial development followed by an overview of the prevalence and patterns of substance use and other addictive behaviours in these populations.

This will form the basis for an exploration of substance use and other addictive behaviours through the life course including emerging and older adulthood.

It will also form the basis for understanding influences of family and social contexts on youth addiction such as the impacts of parental substance use, trauma and disadvantage.

Topics covered in this unit include an examination of youth-focused prevention, early intervention and treatment initiatives. The evidence for school-based interventions, family focused interventions and youth-focused treatment services will be also evaluated and critiqued.

Finally, in-depth consideration will be given to government policies relevant to youth addiction including those pertaining to social media.


Upon successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. Identify and contextualise developmental factors that contribute to addictive behaviours in young people
  2. Explain youth substance abuse in terms of family and social contexts such as trauma and youth disadvantage
  3. Synthesise the available information on the impact of addictive behaviours on young people and families in order to demonstrate an understanding of the complexity of this issue
  4. Reflect critically on psychological and sociological theories relevant to key contemporary issues in youth addiction
  5. Evaluate and critique current responses to addiction including school-based interventions
  6. Compare and contrast contemporary models of addiction behaviours among young people through an analysis of national and international research
  7. Critically review the effectiveness of family-based interventions including Family Inclusive Practice and Parents Under Pressure
  8. Critically appraise a range of youth-focused AOD treatment services and key elements of youth-focused service delivery
  9. Critically review policy issues relevant to youth including those pertaining to social media.


Students enrolled in ASC5009 will be asked to make contact with a school which provides a schools-based early intervention program. Alternatively, they may contact a youth specific agency which provides an early intervention or treatment program for addictive behaviours. Students will be asked to audit the program by interviewing key stakeholders at the school or agency such as the school principal or CEO, teacher or clinician and parents. They will then be asked to provide a written report of the program's activities and make recommendations. Students will need to obtain permission from the CEO or School Principal and adhere to their requirements for confidentiality and/or anonymity.


  • Participation in online discussion (Hurdle)
  • Assignment: poster presentation with supporting notes (written) (2,000 words) (20%)
  • Essay: topic of choice in negotiation with the unit co-ordinator (written) (4,000 words) (30%)
  • Field assignment: audit of a youth specific early intervention or treatment program (written) (6,000 words) (50%) (Hurdle). You must reach a minimum pass of 45% in this assessment item to pass the unit.

Workload requirements

Students enrolling in ASC5009 will be expected to contact the unit coordinator(s) regularly throughout the semester and participate in online discussion with fellow students and academic staff. Students should expect to spend around 24 hours a week of self-directed learning. This includes accessing online lectures, podcasts and resources as well as participating in forum discussions questions and quizzes via Moodle in addition to conducting offline independent study such as reading, research and writing activities.

See also Unit timetable information

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study