Dr. Kate Walsh

Kate Walsh headshot

Associate Professor, Psychology and Gender & Women’s Studies


Dr. Kate Walsh’s interdisciplinary program of research focuses on the intersection of trauma exposure, mental disorders, and substance use disorders with a particular focus on risk factors for and outcomes of sexual violence. One line of research addresses risk factors for sexual violence perpetration and victimization in multiple contexts, including the military and college. This research focuses on understanding risk factors at multiple ecological levels (individual, interpersonal, and broader environmental/societal) with the goal of developing multi-level prevention programs that are tailored to specific environments. A second line of research focuses on secondary prevention and treatment of negative sequelae associated with sexual violence victimization including posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, and substance use disorders. She is also interested in understanding psychobiological mechanisms underlying the development of psychopathology, including emotion dysregulation and cortisol reactivity, with the goal of translating this knowledge into more effective treatment programming. A third line of research addresses the intergenerational transmission of trauma and its negative sequelae. She has conducted research on maternal stress, including exposure to trauma, and its impact on fetal and offspring development, and she has recently completed data collection for a small study of adolescent girls and maternal caregivers to better understand the role of emotion dysregulation and risk recognition in the intergenerational transmission of sexual violence victimization risk.

Current Projects

Sexual assault disclosure and reporting meta-analysis: This project will summarize the prevalence of sexual assault disclosure and reporting rates across a variety of samples.

Intergenerational transmission of sexual violence victimization risk: To date, 51 dyads of maternal caregivers and adolescent girls have completed questionnaires about trauma experiences, including sexual and partner violence victimization, emotion dysregulation, risk recognition, psychopathology including depression and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and risk behaviors including substance use and sexual risk behaviors.

Prevention of Post-Rape Stress (PPRS). The PPRS is a brief video intervention that addresses avoidance and coping has been shown to have a positive impact on psychopathology and substance use when administered to women presenting to the Emergency Department (ED) for a rape-related forensic medical exam.

Representative Publications

Walsh, K., Sarvet, A., Khan, S., Choo, T., Wall, M., Santelli, J., Wilson, P., Gilbert, L., Reardon, L., Hirsch, J.S., Mellins, C.A. (in press). Socio-ecologically constituted types of sexual assault. Psychology of Women Quarterly.

Walsh, K., Choo, T-H., Wall, M., Hirsch, J.S., Ford, J., Santelli, J., Gilbert, L., Thompson, M., Reardon, L., & Mellins, C.A. (in press). Repeat sexual victimization during college: Prevalence and psychosocial correlates. Psychology of Violence.

Walsh, K., McCormack, C.A., Webster, R., Pinto, A., Lee, S., Feng, T., Liu, G., Krakovsky, H.S., O’Grady, S.M., Tycko, B., Champagne, F. Werner, E.A., Monk, C. (2019). Maternal prenatal stress phenotypes associate with fetal neurodevelopment and birth outcomes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 116(48), 23996-24005.

Walsh, K., Sarvet, A.L., Wall, M., Gilbert, L., Santelli, J., Khan, S. Thompson, M.P., Reardon, L.., Hirsch, J.S., & Mellins, C.A. (2019). Prevalence and correlates of sexual assault perpetration and ambiguous consent in a representative sample of college students. Journal of Interpersonal Violence.

Walsh, K., Gilmore, A.K., Frazier, P., Ledray, L., Acierno, R., Ruggiero, K.J., Kilpatrick, D.G., & Resnick, H.S. (2017). A randomized clinical trial examining the effect of video-based prevention of alcohol and marijuana use among recent sexual assault victims. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 41, 2163-2172.

Walsh, K., Zinzow, H., Badour, C., Ruggiero, K.J., Kilpatrick, D., & Resnick, H.S. (2016). Understanding disparities in service seeking following forcible versus drug or alcohol facilitated/incapacitated rape. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 31, 2475-2491.  

Walsh, K., Keyes, K.M., Koenen, K.C., & Hasin, D. (2015). Lifetime prevalence of gender-based violence in US women: Associations with mental and substance use disorders. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 62, 7-13. 

Walsh, K., Galea, S., Cerda, M., Richards, C., Liberzon, I., Tamburrino, M., Calabrese, J., & Koenen, K. (2014). Unit support protects against sexual harassment and assault among National Guard soldiers. Women’s Health Issues, 24, 600-604.  

Walsh, K., Nugent, N.R., Kotte, A., Amstadter, A.B., Wang, S., Guille, C., Acierno, R., Kilpatrick, D.G., & Resnick, H.S. (2013). Cortisol at the emergency room rape visit as a predictor of PTSD and depression symptoms over time. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 38, 2520-8.

Walsh, K., Koenen, K., Aiello, A.E., Uddin, M., & Galea, S. (2013). Prevalence of sexual violence and posttraumatic stress disorder in an urban African-American population. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, 1-4.

Walsh, K., Danielson, C.K., McCauley, J., Saunders, B.E., Kilpatrick, D.G., & Resnick, H.S. (2012). National prevalence of PTSD among sexually revictimized adolescent, college, and adult women. Archives of General Psychiatry, 69, 935-942.