Dr. Karen Goodall

Senior Lecturer; Director of Postgraduate Research


 I am a Senior Lecturer in the department of Clinical Psychology. I joined the department in 2015 which, in many ways felt like a return to my alma mater as I earned my PhD and completed an MA (Hons) Psychology at the University of Edinburgh. I am curerntly the Health in Social Science Director of Postgraduate Research, overseeing PGR programmes across Clinical Psychology, Nursing Studies and Counselling, Psychotherapy and Social Sciences.I am a Chartered Psychologist and associate member of the British Psychological Society.

Previous roles at the University include Senior Tutor (overseeing the Personal Tutor system) in the School of Health in Social Science and Programme Director of the MSc Mental Health in Children and Young People: Psychological Approaches.. Previously, I was Senior Lecturer at Queen Margaret University Edinburgh from 2002-2015, where I was Programme Leader of the BSc (Hons) Psychology programme. 


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2002 -PhD, University of Edinburgh. Title: The effect of collaborative learning on the problem-solving skills of children with Down syndrome. Supervisor: Prof. Jennifer Wishart

1998 - MA (1st class, Hons), Psychology, University of Edinburgh.

Responsibilities & affiliations


  • Postgraduate Researcher Director, School of Health in Social Science, University of Edinburgh
  • Chartered Psychologist, British Psychological Society
  • Associate Member, British Psychological Society

Postgraduate teaching

I am course organiser for Attachment, Wellbeing and Mental Health, a core course on the MSc Mental Health in Children and Young People: Psychological Approaches. I supervise Masters students on the following programmes: MSc Mental Health in Children and Young People: Psychological Approaches; MSc Psychology of Mental Health (convesion); MSc Research.


Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Areas of interest for supervision

I have capacity to take on  Masters in Research and PhD students in the following areas:

  • impact of childhood adversity/abuse/trauma on later psychological functioning
  • attachment and its relationship to mental health in children and adults, and enduring conditions (psychosis)
  • emotional and self regulatory capacity - the development of; correlates of and relationship to mental health in children and adults
  • trait mindfulness and its assoication with self regulatory capacity
  • postive psychology, especially the regulation of positive emotion and aversion to positive emotion 

I have considerable experience in PhD examining in the roles of internal and external examiner.

Current PhD students supervised

Amber Williams (PhD) Impact of covid-19 on adolescent wellbeing

Samar Alzeer (PhD). Intergenerational trauma in Arab refugees

Lu Wang (MScR). Aggression in Chinese adolescents

Kiyoshi Nasir Bhuiyan (PhD) Ipad technology in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Katharine Harrison (D. ClinPsy) Identity and Relationships in women using the Only Fans platform

Sarah Loveridge (D. Clin. Psy.) Attitudes towards trauma-infromed approaches in housing assoication workers


Past PhD students supervised

2021 Loukia Bololia  (PhD) Dramatherapy and Autism Spectrum Disorder    

2021 Anna Trejnowska (PhD).  Adult attachment and coping with a brain tumour diagnosis

2019 Melissa Akoral  (PhD).Thesis title: A Mixed Methods Investigation of Distress Related to Psychosis Experiences.

2017 Zara Brodie (PhD). Thesis title: The relationship between adult attachment and the regulation of anger.

2015 Louise Cotton  (PhD). Thesis title:  'Mind the Gap: An Investigation into Disfluency and Hesitation Phenomena in Adults with Dyslexia.

2014 Clare Uytman (PhD). Living With Limb Loss: Individuals' and Prosthetists' Perceptions of Amputation, Prosthesis Use and Rehabilitation.

2013 Rahul Sambaraju  (PhD). Thesis title: Immigration and Unemployment in the Financial Recession: A Discours Analytic Study on Exclusion of Immigants.


2020Jenni Murray (DClinPsy) - The role of compassion on intrusive thoughts of caregivers of adults with dementia

2020 Gina Murphy (D.ClinPsy) . The impact of loneliness on paranoia

2019 David Carmichael (D.ClinPsy) The Relationship Between Childhood Trauma, Negative Core Schema and Paranoia in People with Persecutory Delusions: A Mediation Analysis 

2017 Daria Karbainova  (MScR)The Impact of Daily Loving-Kindness Meditation on the Regulation of Positive emotion

2016 Jingya Yuan  (MScR)Attachment as a Mediator between Childhood Emotional Maltreatment and Adulthood Regulation in Positive Emotion (MSc by Reseach).

2014 Michael McCreadie   (Prof. Doctorate in Health Psychology)                               

Research summary

My research focuses predominantly on attachment theory, investigating how intenal working models impact wellbeing and mental health via individual differences in emotion regulation and the reguatlion of thoughts and attention. I am also interested in the contributio of childhood experiences, including adversity, abuse and neglect to wellbeing. Indicative topics include:

  • attachment theory
  • emotion regulation (especially the regulation of positive emotion) from an attachment perspective
  • dispositiional mindfulness and its correlates and antedendents
  • ACEs (adverse childhood experiences), childhood abuse and neglect, especially emotional abuse and emotional neglect
  • trauma informed approaches in services, including police and schools

I am a founding member of the .Trauma, Adversity and Relationships Group which brings together researchers from different areas in the  University and external bodies. 

 In 2021, I initiated Advocates for ACES, a University-funded project to raise awareness of ACEs and their impacts in undergraduate students across a range of faculties including Law, Education and Medicine. This initiative invites speakers from different areas of practice to contextualise how adversity affects the people, with whom students will come into contact in their future roles'

Advocates for Aces

Current research interests

My research is mainly focused on the impact of childhood experiences on adult functioning. A key focus is applying an attachment framework to the understanding of individual differences in self-regulation of emotion, thought and attention, to understand how these impact on wellbeing and mental health. Previous projects, including PhD projects have applied an attachment framework to the following areas: individual differences in dispositional mindfulness, individual differences in trait anger and aggressive behaviour, coping with terminal conditions such as brain tumour and enduring conditions such as psychosis, or psychosis symptoms such as paranoia. A second focus is on the impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) on self-regulation, behaviour and mental health. Projects here have focused on the relationship between trauma and abuse (particularly emotional abuse) and mental health; investigating attitudes towards trauma informed practices in the police and schools and evaluation of trauma awareness interventions. A recent project, funded by the Scottish Institute of Policing Research involved working with Police Scotland evaluating an ACEs intervention. I am open to enquiries about PhD supervision in these areas.

Past research interests

Psychosis - use of the attachment framework to understand the development and maintenance of psychosis symptoms such as paranoia. Relationship between childhood trauma and adversity and psychosis. Discourse - investigating how discourse affects interactions, particularly those with healthcare professionals or other professionals, for example in relation to childbirth choices and interactions between emergency call handlers and members of the public dealing with cardiac arrest (Resuscitation Research Group) https://www.rrg.scot/projects/the-first-first-responder/

Knowledge exchange

Public engagement

Midlothian Festival of Science. IKEA, Edinburgh, 16th October, 2019. Public engagement event to promote self soothing and calm. Provided activities on mindfulness.


Invited expert comment to discussion of awareness of and stigma in mental health, BBC Scotland The Nine (aired 20/05/19).

Invited expert, providing psychological opinion on the impact of corporal punishment on children’s mental health to BBC ‘Big Questions’ debate (aired March 2018).


Commissioned to provide mental health advice on poetry anthology for children on mental health related issues, Brownlee, L, Goodfellow, M & Mucha, L. (2021)Being Me. Otter-Barry https://www.otterbarrybooks.com/books/being-me

Commissioned to provide advice on attachment theory in L. Mucha (2019). Love Factually. Bloomsbury Sigma. https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/love-factually-9781472954350/

Affiliated research centres

View all 55 publications on Research Explorer

Invited speaker

24th February 2017 Invited chair. Scottish Nurture Group Network Annual Scottish conference: Teaching and learning for children with social, emotional and mental health issues


Consortium of European Research on Emotion (CERE), Glasgow, UK, April 4-5 2018

Papers delivered

Goodall, K. The role of emotion in the relationship between attachment and dispositional mindfulness. European Conference on Developmental Psychology, Braga, Portugal, 28th August - 1st September, 2017.

Trejnowska, A. McVittie, C. and Goodall, K,. A mixed methods investigation of the experience of being diagnosed with a brain tumour. European Conference on Health Psychology, Padova, Italy, 29 Aug - 1st Sept 2017.

Uytman, C., McVittie, C. and Goodall, K. If you’ve never been through it, you can’t understand” An IPA exploration of prosthetist--patient communication. European Conference on Health Psychology, Padova, Italy, 29 Aug - 1st Sept 2017.

Brodie, Z. P., Goodall., K. Attachment insecurity as a predictor of dispositional anger in adulthood. European Conference on Developmental Psychology, Braga, Portugal, 28th August - 1st September 2015.

Goodall, K.  Children’s knowledge about factors associated with the maintenance of normal bodyweight. European Health Psychology Society, Innsbruck, 26th-30th August, 2104.

 Goodall, K, Grünwald, L. & Darling, S. Attachment, emotional abuse and physical abuse predict schizotypy in a nonclinical sample. International Psychological Applications Conference and Trends, Madrid, 26th-28th April, 2013.

Goodall, K., McVittie, C., McKinlay, A. & Uytman, C. Predictors of positive emotion regulation strategies: attachment and self esteem. 26th Conference of the European Health Psychology Society, Prague, Czech Republic, 21st-25th August 2012.

Goodall, K., Darling, S., Myles, J. and Hutt, A.   The contributions of adult attachment and schizotypy to working memory. The 12th European Congress of Psychology, Istanbul, Turkey, 5th-8th July 2011.

Goodall, K. & Trejnowska, A. The role of adult attachment style and emotion regulation in predicting mindfulness in non-meditators. . The 12th European Congress of Psychology, Istanbul, Turkey, 5th-8th July 2011.

Goodall, K. & Binnie, L. (2010). Theory of mind in children in Nurture groups. Annual Conference for Educational Psychologists in Scotland, Edinburgh, UK, 30th Sept -1st  Oct 2010.

Wilson, S., Goodall, K. & McVittie. (2010). Sceptical believers. The British Psychological Society Qualitative Methods in Psychology Conference, Nottingham, UK, 23rd-25th August 2010.

Elliott, Ian and Goodall, Karen and McVittie, Chris and Trejnowska, Anna (2010) Young workers’ experiences of abuse in public-facing jobs [invited speaker]. In: STUC Congress, 19th April, Dundee. (Unpublished)

Goodall, K.  (2009) Adult attachment and Schizotypy. British Psychological Society Scotland, Edinburgh, UK, 28th-29th November, 2009.

McVittie, C., Hepworth, J. & Goodall, K. (2009). Gender identities and health: how partners construct masculinities and femininities in relation to older men. In C. McVittie & A. McKinlay (Chairs), Discourses of health and illness. Symposium presented at the 6th Biennial Meeting of the International Society of Critical Health Psychology, Lausanne, Switzerland.8th-11th July 2009.

Magill, M. & Goodall, K. (2006) To cut or not to cut: an interpretative phenomenological analysis of birth choice after caesarean. The British Psychological Society Social Psychology Conference, Birmingham, UK, 6-8 September, 2006.

Goodall, K.E. (2004). Children’s understanding of overweight and obesity. The British Psychological Society Developmental Conference. Leeds Metropolitan University, 2-5 September, 2004.

Goodall, K.E. (2003). A comparison of a direct teaching method and contingent assistance on the spatial problem-solving skills of children with Down syndrome. Annual conference of the Developmental section of the British Psychological Society. Coventry University, 11-14 September 2003.

Goodall, K.E. (2000). Collaborative learning in typically-developing children and children with learning disabilities. European Conference on Educational Research, The University of Edinburgh, 20-23 September 2000.

Goodall, K.E. (2000).  The effect of collaboration with a peer on understanding of concept of number and matter in children with Down syndrome. The British Psychological Society Developmental Section Annual Conference. The University of Bristol, 14-15September, 2000.

Goodall, K.E. (2000). A qualitative video-analysis of collaborative interactions between children with Down syndrome and children with non-specific learning disabilities. Down Syndrome Research Forum. Sarah Duffen Centre, Portsmouth, May  2000.

Goodall, K.E. (1999). Peer learning in children with Down’s syndrome and children with non-specific learning difficulties. The British Psychological Society Education Section Annual conference. The University of Greenwich, 6-7 November 1999.

Goodall, K.E. (1997). A preliminary investigation of collaborative learning in children with Down syndrome. The British Psychological Society Postgraduate Affairs Group Conference, University of Lancaster, October 1999.