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Dr. Robert McMahon

Investigator, BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services Research Institute

Primary research areas

  • Child/adolescent conduct problems
  • Parenting
  • Family-based intervention
  • Prevention

About Robert J. McMahon, B.A., M.S., Ph.D.

  • Investigator, BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services Research Institute
  • Investigator, BC Children's Hospital Research Institute
  • Professor, Department of Psychology, Simon Fraser University
  • LEEF BC Leadership Chair in Proactive Approaches to Reducing Risk for Violence among Children and Youth

Current research

Dr. Robert McMahon’s research focuses on understanding how conduct problems develop in children and adolescents, their developmental course over time, and how best to prevent and treat these problems, especially in the context of the family. 

Dr. McMahon is a principal investigator with the Fast Track project, a long-term program created to prevent serious behaviour problems in high-risk children. One of his responsibilities was the development and implementation of the family-based components of the Fast Track intervention. These individuals have been followed to age 32.

He is building a new family program that combines training parents with emotion coaching for young children diagnosed with oppositional defiant disorder and who show low socially acceptable emotions. 

Recent publications

View Dr. Robert McMahon's publications on ORCID

Dodge, K. A., Bierman, K. L., Coie, J. D., Greenberg, M. T., Lochman, J. E., McMahon, R. J., & Pinderhughes, E. E. for the Conduct Problems Prevention Research Group.* (2015). Impact of early intervention on psychopathology, crime, and well-being at age 25. American Journal of Psychiatry, 172, 59-70. PMID: 25219348. doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2014.13060786

Pasalich, D. S., Witkiewitz, K., McMahon, R. J., Pinderhughes, E. E., & the Conduct Problems Prevention Research Group.* (2016). Indirect effects of the Fast Track intervention on conduct disorder symptoms and callous-unemotional traits: Distinct pathways involving discipline and warmth. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 44, 587-597. doi:10.1007/s10802-015-0059-y

McMahon, R. J., & Forehand, R. L. (2017). Helping the Noncompliant Child. In J. Lebow, A. Chambers, & D. C. Breunlin (Eds.), Encyclopedia of couple and family therapy. New York: Springer. Retrieved online from on January 4, 2018

McMahon, R. J., & Frick, P. J. (2019). Conduct and oppositional disorders. In M. J. Prinstein, E. A. Youngstrom, E. J. Mash, & R. A. Barkley (Eds.), Treatment of disorders in childhood and adolescence (4th ed., pp. 102-172). New York: Guilford Press

Conduct Problems Prevention Research Group.* (2019). The Fast Track program for children at risk: Preventing antisocial behavior. New York: Guilford Press

Racz, S. J., McMahon, R. J., King, K. M., Pinderhughes, E. E., & Bendezú, J. J. (2019). Kindergarten antecedents of the developmental course of active and passive parental monitoring strategies during middle childhood and adolescence. Development and Psychopathology, 31, 1675-1694. doi:10.1017/S0954579419000993

Godwin, J., & the Conduct Problems Prevention Research Group.* (2020). The Fast Track intervention’s impact on behaviors of despair in adolescence and young adulthood. PNAS, 117(50), 31748-31753.

Cyr, M., Zheng, Y., & McMahon, R. J. (2020). A long-term look at “early starters”: Predicting adult psychosocial outcomes from childhood conduct problem trajectories. Development and Psychopathology. Advance online publication. doi:10.1017/S0954579420000760 

McMahon, R. J., Goulter, N., & Frick, P. J. (2021). Moderators of psychosocial intervention response for children and adolescents with conduct problems. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology. Advance online publication. 

Goulter, N., Craig, S. G., & McMahon, R. J. (2021). Primary and secondary callous-unemotional traits in adolescence are associated with distinct maladaptive and adaptive outcomes in adulthood. Development and Psychopathology. Advance online publication. https://doi:10.1017/S0954579421000481 

* Members of the CPPRG (in alphabetical order) are K. L. Bierman, J. D. Coie, D. M. Crowley (from 2014), K. A. Dodge, E. M. Foster (from 2002-06), M. T. Greenberg, J. E. Lochman, R. J. McMahon, and E. E. Pinderhughes (from 1998)

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