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Faculty & Staff

Sarah McMahon

Associate Professor and Associate Director, Center on Violence Against Women and Children

Ph.D., Rutgers

Dr. McMahon's research interests include violence against women and social work education.

(848) 932-4393 x24393

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Sarah McMahon is an Associate Professor at the Rutgers University School of Social Work and also serves as the Associate Director for the School’s Center on Violence Against Women and Children. Her research focuses on violence against women and children, with an emphasis on prevention and social change.  Dr. McMahon has extensive experience in designing and implementing studies with college students to measure their knowledge, attitudes and behaviors related to sexual violence, with a focus on bystander intervention. In 2014, she was invited to collaborate with the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault through the testing of a campus climate survey tool.  She was also appointed by the Governor of NJ to serve on the state’s Task Force to Address Campus Sexual Violence and also serves on the National Sexual Violence Resource Center Advisory Board.  She has numerous publications on the topic of sexual violence and has presented her work around the country. Dr. McMahon also serves as the Chair of the NJ Domestic Violence Fatality and Near Fatality Review Board.  Prior to her position at the School of Social Work, Dr. McMahon worked in a clinical setting, providing crisis intervention and counseling to survivors of various forms of interpersonal violence and delivering prevention education to the wider community.

Courses Taught: 

  • Methods in Social Work Research I
  • Methods in Social Work Research II
  • Family Violence/ Violence & Abuse in Adulthood
  • Women's Issues
  • Social Welfare & Policies II- Violence Against Women & Children
  • Public Child Welfare Intensive Weekend Program- Family Violence & Research Methods

Selected Recent Publications: 

Hoxmeier, J.C., McMahon, S., & O’Connor, J. (2017). Beyond yes or no: Understanding undergraduate students’ responses as bystanders to sexual assault risk situations. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, online first, August 9, 2017. DOI:

Findley, P.A., Plummer, S.B., & McMahon, S. (2016). Exploring the experience of abuse of college students with disabilities. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 31(17), 2801-2823.

McMahon, S., Palmer, J.E, Banyard, V.L, Murphy, M, & Gidcyz, C. A. (advanced online publication). Measuring bystander behavior in the context of sexual violence prevention: Lessons learned and new directions Journal of Interpersonal Violence, doi: 10.1177/0886260515591979.

McMahon, S., Peterson, N. A., Winter, S. C., Palmer, J. E., Postmus, J. L., & Koenick, R. A. (2015). Predicting bystander behavior to prevent sexual assault on college campuses: The role of self‐efficacy and intent. American Journal of Community Psychology, 56(1-2), 46-56.

McMahon, S. (2015). Participation in high school sports and bystander intentions, efficacy to intervene, and rape myth beliefs. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 30(17), 2980-2998.

McMahon, S., Winter, S. C., Palmer, J. E., Postmus, J. L., Peterson, N. A., Zucker, S., & Koenick, R. (2015). A randomized controlled trial of a multi-dose bystander intervention program using peer education theater. Health Education Research, 30(4), 554-568.

McMahon, S. (2015). Call for research on bystander intervention to prevent sexual violence: The role of campus environments. American Journal of Community Psychology, 55 (3), 472-489.

McMahon, S. Banyard, V.L., & McMahon, S.M. (2015). Incoming college students’ bystander behaviors to prevent sexual violence. Journal of College Student Development, 56 (5), 486- 491.

McMahon, S., Allen, C. T., Postmus, J. L., McMahon, S. M., Peterson, N. A., & Lowe Hoffman, M. (2014). Measuring bystander attitudes and behavior to prevent sexual violence. Journal of American College Health, 62(1), 58-66.

McMahon, S., Postmus, J. L., Warrener, C., & Koenick, R. A. (2014). Utilizing peer education theater for the primary prevention of sexual violence on college campuses. Journal of College Student Development, 55(1), 78-85.

McMahon, S., Hoffman, M., McMahon, S.M., Zucker, S.& Koenick, R.A. (2013). What would you do? Sexual violence bystander intervention strategies for college students. Journal of College and Character, 14 (2), 141-151.

McMahon, S., Postmus, J. L., Warrener, C., Plummer, S., & Schwartz, R. (2013). Evaluating the effect of a specialized MSW course on violence against women. Journal of Social Work Education, 49 (2), 307-320.

McMahon, S. & Banyard, V.L. (2012). When can I help? A conceptual framework for preventing violence through bystander intervention. Trauma, Violence & Abuse, 13 (1), 3 - 14.

McMahon, S. (2010). Rape myth beliefs and bystander attitudes among incoming college students. Journal of American College Health, 59 (1), 1 – 11.

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