Karen Cooper

Research Assistant

  • School of Health in Social Science
  • Clinical Psychology

Contact details



G1, Doorway 6, Medical Quad, Teviot Place

Post code


I began my studies in Sociology, completing a BA (Hons) at Exeter University and MPhil at the University of Glasgow. I then moved to Criminology, working as a Research Officer at the Centre for Criminology, University of Oxford, between 2002 and 2007. Following this, and whilst completing my doctorate in Criminology, I worked as a consultant researcher on a project for the Howard League for Penal Reform. After obtaining my DPhil from Oxford University in 2008 I took up post in the Scottish Government’s Justice Analytical Services, carrying out research in criminal justice. I returned to academia in June 2013 as a Researcher in Clinical Psychology

Research summary

My research interests focus on youth offending, the role of social media/communication technology on adolescent behaviours and risk-taking, and young people’s experiences of the desistance process, particularly in relation to reintegration with learning and education activities. I am also interested in exploring the influence of parental/professional relations on young people’s functioning and psychological well-being.

Research Activity

Self-Produced Images – Risk Taking Online’ (SPIRTO): My current research, working with Dr Ethel Quayle, investigates the capacity of young people to self-produce sexual content (or ‘sexting’). The project is a collaboration with Sweden and Germany aimed at understanding the different contexts behind the creation of sexual images and the consequences for the young people involved.

British Council Research Links Travel Grant to EWHA Woman’s University, Seoul, South Korea: The project explores young people’s experiences of social media and sexting within South Korea, including examining the relevance of cultural factors in parent/professional understanding of and response to these practices. The grant aims to promote the sharing of ideas between Edinburgh and EWHA in order to strengthen future research collaborations.