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Associate Professor Karena Burke

BA (Hons1), PhD (UTas), GCTAE, MAPS
Associate Professor in Psychology; Head of College - Psychology
School of Health, Medical and Applied Sciences
Appleton Institute
(08) 83784566
Ext: 54566 Alternative Phone
0417929827 Mobile Phone
1 - 2.4
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About Me

I am the Head of College - Psychology within the School of Health Medical and Applied Sciences at CQUniversity. I held the role of Head of Department of Psychology and Public Health from Dec 2016 to July 2020 and my new role is a natural realignment within the new University structure. I am also an Adjunct Research Fellow on the South Australian Health & Medical Research Institute faculty, aligned with the Wellbeing and Resilience Centre.

I am an Executive committee member of the Heads of Department and Schools of Psychology Association (HODSPA) and hold the office of Treasurer.

I supervise research students across CQUni's Psychology and Science Honours courses, Masters of Clinical Psychology, Masters of Health Science and PhD programs. My primary research interests concentrate on the links between physical and psychological health, and the promotion of resilience and well-being in adjusting to adverse life events. My research is focussed across a diverse spectrum of social activity – from the impact and role on individuals in specific circumstances, to the understanding of how organisational, social and community level impacts can influence health and well-being. My goal is to foster preventive health strategies and promote more efficient and targeted management of individuals, families and groups facing lifestyle changes forced by their experience of challenging and adverse events.


Karena is an Associate Professor in Psychology and was appointed Head of College - College of Psychology in July 2020.

Karena completed her doctoral studies at the University of Tasmania in Launceston where she also held positions as an Associate Lecturer and Junior Research Fellow within the School of Psychology. Her PhD project examined the adjustments made by police officers when they enter the police profession.

Karena completed a postdoctoral fellowship at CQUniversity between 2008 and 2011 intially as part of the Healthy Communities Initiative, then within the Institute for Health and Social Science Research (IHSSR).

Karena started as a Senior Lecturer in Psychology in August 2011, and coordinated the Psychology 4th Year Honours and Graduate Diploma programs in Psychology until mid 2016.

Karena undertook a research secondment from July 2016 to February 2017 with the Wellbeing and Resilience Centre (WRC) at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI), as the WRC Research Lead.

Karena was the Head of Department of Psychology and Public Health from December 2016 to July 2020. Initially based at CQUni's Rockhampton campus, Karena relocated to CQUniversity's Adelaide campus in May 2018.

Karena holds the position of Treasurer on the Executive committee of the Heads of Departments and Schools of Psychology Association (HODSPA).

Professional Memberships

Associate Member - Food and Behaviour Research (

Australasian Society for Traumatic Stress Studies

International Association of Applied Psychology

International Positive Psychology Association - Health Division, Organisational Division

Member of the Australian Psychological Society - Interest Groups: Positive Psychology, Remote & Rural, Military & Emergency Services, Trauma, Coaching Psychology


Head of College

Research Supervision

I am currently accredited for supervision in the following:

  • 3903 Education Systems
  • 4402 Criminology
  • 3904 Specialist Studies in Education
  • 3505 Human resources and industrial relations
  • 5203 Clinical and health psychology
  • 5201 Applied and developmental psychology
  • 5204 Cognitive and computational psychology
  • 5205 Social and personality psychology
  • 4206 Public health

At the level of Principal Supervisor

Current Capacity
I am currently available to supervise more research candidates
Current Supervision
Master of Arts
Impact of positive psychology interventions in educational settings on school teachers and principals
Principal Supervisor
Master of Health Science
Exploring the resources that health care professionals provide to support the psychosocial wellbeing of parrents of recently diagnosed food allergic children in regional Australia
Principal Supervisor
Doctor of Philosophy
Conceptualisation of food addiction for development of a system to guide practice
Principal Supervisor
Doctor of Philosophy
The impact of rurality on anxiety in secondary school students
Principal Supervisor
Doctor of Philosophy
What targeted interventions need to be implemented for the effective management of female Australian Defence Force veterans at risk of, or diagnosed with, post-traumatic stress disorder?
Principal Supervisor
Doctor of Philosophy
Staying Mum: Parenting and Intimate Partner Violence - An examination of parenting stress and the efficacy of equine facilitated treatment to address the needs of victims of Intimate Partner Violence.
Associate Supervisor
Research Interests
Commerce, Management, Tourism And Services

Human resources and industrial relations - Workplace wellbeing and quality of working life


Specialist Studies in Education - Educational Administration, Management and Leadership


Specialist Studies in Education - Teacher and student wellbeing

Health Sciences

Health services and systems - Mental health services

Health Sciences

Public health - Health equity

Health Sciences

Public health - Preventative health care

Health Sciences

Public health - Social determinants of health


Applied and developmental psychology - Child and adolescent development


Applied and developmental psychology - Industrial and organisational psychology (incl. human factors)


Clinical and health psychology - Health psychology


Cognitive and computational psychology - Learning, motivation and emotion


Other psychology - Other psychology not elsewhere classified
Positive Psychology, Wellbeing and Resilience


Social and personality psychology - Community psychology


Social and personality psychology - Social psychology

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