Thomas J McMahon PhD

Associate Professor of Psychiatry and in the Child Study Center and Associate Clinical Professor of Nursing

Research Interests

Substance abuse; Parenting

Research Summary

As a clinical child and school psychologist, I am broadly interested in ways the principles of developmental psychopathology can be used to explore the impact of substance abuse on family process, parent-child relationships, and the psychosocial development of children. Recent work has been focusing on male gender and substance abuse. Three ongoing projects are focusing on the psychosocial adjustment of substance-abusing men as fathers. In the first, a comparative research design and development-ecological perspective on parenting is being used to document ways the fathering of opioid-dependent men differs from that of men with no history of drug or alcohol dependence. In the second, qualitative research methods and life-history narratives are being used to construct a grounded theory that will outline the process by which developmental, psychological, situational, and systemic influences interact, for better or worse, to affect the fathering of substance-abusing men. In the third, motivational and interpersonal techniques are being integrated in the development of an individual, gender-specific, relational psychotherapy for methadone-maintained men interested in being more effective fathers.

Secondary areas of interest include 1) the assessment, treatment, and prevention of adolescent substance abuse; and 2) male gender role development.

Invited by Center for Substance Abuse Treatment to serve as member of a concensus panel for the development of assessment and treatment guidelines for adult survivors of child abuse and neglect in substance abuse treatment, 1998.

Selected Publications

  • McMahon TJ, Winkel JD, Rounsaville BJ. Drug abuse and responsible fathering: a comparative study of men enrolled in methadone maintenance treatment. Addiction. 2008 Feb;103(2):269-83.
  • McMahon TJ, Winkel JD, Suchman NE, Rounsaville BJ. Drug-abusing fathers: patterns of pair bonding, reproduction, and paternal involvement. J Subst Abuse Treat. 2007 Oct;33(3):295-302. Epub 2007 Feb 22.

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