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Personal profile


Sam has a BSc(Hons) Forensic Psychology degree from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) and an MSc Investigative Psychology degree from the University of Huddersfield. Her primary area of research focuses on the relationship between mental illness and offending behaviour. She is currently in the corrections stage of her PhD (University of Huddersfield) which focused on the public perceptions of individuals with mental illness who offend, considering the impact of stigma, labelling and beliefs about dangerousness.


After graduating from UCLan in 2014, Sam started working as a healthcare worker in low secure Forensic Mental Health services with adult males, sectioned under the Mental Health Act. This role allowed her to develop her skills in a clinical setting, understanding what works when managing challenging behaviour, delivering therapeutic interventions and reducing risk. She also completed several additional training courses including personality disorder awareness training and therapeutic management of violence and aggression. She also has experience working in a community Multi-Disciplinary Team with a client who has an Acquired Brain Injury, assisting with the delivery of her individualised care, treatment and rehabilitation plan. Sam’s first academic role was as a guest lecturer on the ‘Psychology in the Media’ module at UCLan (2017-2019), before joining Leeds Trinity as a full-time lecture in Forensic Psychology in September 2020. She also delivers content for the MSc Applied Custodial Leadership course, in partnership with Unlocked.

Research interests

Research interests

Public perceptions of mental illness

Mental illness and offending behaviour

Labelling and mental health stigma

Mental illness in the media: myth and reality

Motivations for offending behaviour

Research Outputs

Walkden, S.M., Rogerson, M. & Kola-Palmer, D. (2021). Public Attitudes Towards Offenders with Mental Illness Scale (PATOMI): Establishing a Valid Tool to Measure Public Perceptions. Community Ment Health J, 57, 349–356. doi:10.1007/s10597-020-00653-0

Education/Academic qualification

Master of Science, University of Huddersfield

Award Date: 12 Sep 2017

Bachelor of Science, University of Central Lancashire

Award Date: 1 Jun 2014


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