Dr Kimberly Petersen

Dr Kimberly Petersen


I joined the University of Leeds as a lecturer in the Psychology of Childhood and Education in January 2022.

My background is in both Psychology and Education. I was awarded MA (Hons.) Psychology from the University of Glasgow in 2004. After that, I worked supporting children and young people who had special educational needs and disabilities in school and residential settings, and I went on to train as a primary school teacher in 2006/7.

I worked as a teacher in mainstream and special education settings for a number of years before returning to study  MEd Psychology of Education and a PhD in Education, at the University of Manchester. My PhD research focused on the mental health and wellbeing development of primary school children, and the relationship between social support and mental health.

I have also worked as a researcher on a number of large scale projects funded by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) and National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), including a randomised control trial of a universal school-based behaviour intervention called the Good Behaviour Game, a randomised control trial of a social and emotional learning intervention called PATHS to Success, and a large systematic review of psychosocial measures for use with children and young people (SPECTRUM review).

Previously, I have taught students at postgraduate and undergraduate level at Manchester Institute of Education, University of Manchester, and was appointed Lecturer in Psychology at Leeds Trinity University between July 2020 and December 2021, where I specialised in the teaching of Educational Psychology.


  • Programme Leader for BSc Psychology with Education

Research interests

My research interests are in child and adolescent mental health, wellbeing and loneliness with a particular focus on the impact of the school environment in those areas. I am also interested in school-based and community interventions, such as arts-based interventions, and their effect on young people’s wellbeing and loneliness. I have expertise in survey methods, quantitative data analysis, and data modelling.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://essl.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD Education
  • MEd Psychology of Education
  • PGCE (Primary)
  • MA (Hons.) Psychology

Professional memberships

  • Chartered Member of the British Psychological Society (CPsychol)
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA)

Student education

I lead and contribute to a range of modules on the BSc Psychology with Education, BA Childhood Studies, BA Education, MA Special Educational Needs, MA Childhood Studies, and MA Education programmes.

Research groups and institutes

  • ICY: Inclusion, Childhood & Youth Research Centre
<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>The school welcomes enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>