Kate Dawson

Kate Dawson BA (Hons), HDip, MA, PhD

Lecturer in Psychology

Dr. Kate Dawson is a Lecturer in Psychology in the School of Human Sciences since August 2022. Her research focuses primarily on sexual learning and well-being. Kate is particularly interested in the role of sexual media in normalising sexual coercion and harassment. Kate has worked as an academic in Ireland, and in applied settings as a sexual health educator in secondary schools. Her research has received funding by ReThink Ireland, Lifes2Good Foundation, and the Department of Higher Education and Skills for developing sexual health interventions related to adolescent pornography use, and sexual consent communication.

Posts held previously

2019-2022, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, School of Psychology, National University of Ireland, Galway
2015-2019, Doctoral Researcher, School of Psychology, National University of Ireland, Galway
2013-2018, Sexual Health Educator, Sexual Health West, Ireland

Responsibilities within the university

Module leader for PSYC-1031 Introduction to Psychology, and PSYC-1145 Applied Positive Psychology


  • Reviewer for international journals including Journal of Sex Research, Sex Education, and Frontiers in Psychology
  • Board membership: Research Ethics Committee, National University of Ireland Galway
  • Founding member and subcommittee member on the NUI Galway LGBTQ+ Staff Equality Network
  • TEDx Galway committee – involving speaker recruitment and training
  • Awards: NUI Galway Presidents Award for Societal Impact, Journal of Sex Research Editor’s Choice Award 2020

Research / Scholarly interests

Kate’s research interests are related to sexual learning and sexual behaviour. Kate is particularly interested in sexual consent communication – how we express sexual interest, read sexual cues, and act on sexual desire.
Kate’s work has focused largely on intervention development. She has developed several online and in-person adolescent sexual health interventions around pornography use, sexual consent, body image, and sexual violence prevention.

Key funded projects

  • 2019-2022: Lifes2Good Foundation and Rethink Ireland (€1.4 million).
  • 2022: Marie Sklodowska Curie (MSCA) Global Fellowship Seal of Excellence.
  • 2021: NUI Galway Illuminate Programme (€5,000), and Department of Education (€10,000).
  • 2015-2019: UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre €60,000

Recent publications

  • Dawson, K., Nic Gabhainn, S., & MacNeela, P. (2022). Development of a measure to assess what young adults report learning about sex from pornography. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 51(12), 1257-1269
  • Rodrigues, D. L., Lopes, D., Dawson, K., de Visser, R., & Štulhofer, A. (2020). With or without you: Associations between frequency of internet pornography use and sexual relationship outcomes for (non) consensual (non) monogamous individuals. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 50, 1491-1504.
  • Dawson, K., Noone, C., Nic Gabhainn, S., & MacNeela, P. (2020). Read all about it: Using a vignette methodology to study comfort with consensual and non-consensual depictions of pornography content. Psychology & Sexuality, 11(4), 293-314.
  • Dawson, K., Tafro, A & Štulhofer, A. (2019). Adolescent sexual aggressiveness and pornography use: A longitudinal assessment. Aggressive Behaviour, 45, 587-597.
  • Dawson, K., Nic Gabhainn, S., & MacNeela, P. (2019). Toward a Model of Porn Literacy: Core Concepts, Rationales, and Approaches. The Journal of Sex Research, 57(1), 1- 15.