Sharyn Potter Recent Publications

Sharyn Potter Recent Publications

Potter, Sharyn J., et al. “Sexual Assault Prevalence and Community College Students: Challenges and Promising Practices.” Health, Education, & Behavior, Vol. 47, 2020, 7S-16S.

This article illuminates the different situational contexts of sexual assault (SA) faced by students at 2-year institutions, commonly known as community colleges, compared with students at 4-year colleges. Potter and her team of authors break down these difference such as student demographics, geographic location, and community college characteristics to draw conclusion about sexual violence on college campuses.


Potter, Sharyn J., et al. “Exploring the Usage of a Violence Prevention and Response App Among Community College Students.” Health, Education, & Behavior, Vol. 47, 2020, 44S-53S.

2-year institutions, commonly known as community colleges, enroll a more diverse population who are more vulnerable to victimization, but 2-year institutions have far fewer resources dedicated to preventing and responding to sexual violence than 4-year institutions. This article reports community college students’ experience with an app, uSafeUS, designed to prevent and respond to sexual violence on campus.


Potter, Sharyn J., et al. “Sexual Violence among LGBQ Community College Students: A Comparison with their Heterosexual Peers.” Community College Journal of Research and Practice, Vol. 44, 2020, 787-803.

This article highlights the higher rates of sexual violence on community college campuses among students who identify as part of the LGBQ community compared to their heterosexual peers.


Potter, Sharyn J., et al. “A Collaborative Community College Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Effort: Climate Study Results to Assess Impact.” Violence Against Women. 2020. 1-20. 

This article describes and assess the impact of a 3-year initiative to engage personnel and students at seven 2-year colleges and community professionals to increase the effectiveness of sexual violence prevention and response strategies.


Potter, Sharyn J., et al. “Can Video Games Help Prevent Violence? An Evaluation of Games Promoting Bystander Intervention to Combat Sexual Violence on College Campuses.” Psychology of Violence. 2020. 1-10

Video games may be a cost-effective method of extending programming to a wider community to teach players how to prevent sexual violence on college campuses. This study replicated an assessment of two original video games designed to train students on bystander-intervention skills to prevent sexual violence.


Elizabeth A. Moschella, Cheyenne Quilter & Sharyn J. Potter (2021): Comprehensive policies for victims of sexual assault returning to the campus classroom: Lessons from university sports-related concussion policies, Journal of American College Health, DOI: 10.1080/07448481.2021.1926264  Article

This paper compares university policies and health and academic accommodations offered to undergraduate students following sexual assault (SA) and sports-related concussions (SRC), detailing procedures and protocols for universities to consider adapting from their SRC policies to their SA policies.


Potter, Sharyn J., et al. “Outcomes of Sexual Assault Victimization in Early Adulthood: National Estimates for University and Nonuniversity Students.” Journal of Interpersonal Violence. 2020. 1-11.

This study expands the knowledge on negative outcomes attributed to sexual assault and yields more questions about larger social impacts.


Potter, Sharyn J., et al. “Using Mobile Technology to Enhance College Sexual Violence Response, Prevention, and Risk Reduction Efforts.” Journal of Technology in Human Services. 2021. Vol. 40, No. 1, 25-46.

This article studies the development process of uSafeUS, an app that provides users safe exit from potentially dangerous situations, hoping to reduce sexual violence on college campuses.


Potter, Sharyn J., et al. “Building a high school violence prevention app to educate and protect students.” Journal of Research on Technology in Education. 2022. 1-19.Article

This article details a three-phase development process that tested students, administrators, staff, and guardians of 13 high schools on the use of mobile app technology to deliver student support services, such as preventing violence.


Potter, Sharyn J., et al. “Campus Sexual Violence Prevention and Response: Lessons from a Pandemic to Inform Future Efforts.” Journal of Interpersonal Violence. 2022. Vol. 37(17-18), NP15037-NP15057.

This paper describes the transition of engaging students with the sexual prevention safety app uSafeUS in traditional in-person settings to remote and hybrid learning settings as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Developing and Piloting Videogames to Increase College and University Students’ Awareness and Efficacy of the Bystander Role in Incidents of Sexual Violence.” Games for Health Journal. 2019.

Videogames may be a source to teach college students how to intervene in situations of sexual and relationship violence.

Objective: Researchers at the Prevention Innovations Research Center at the University of New Hampshire and the Tiltfactor Laboratory at Dartmouth College collaborated with students to create two videogames to teach college students bystander intervention skills in situations of sexual and relationship violence and stalking.

Materials and methods: A key strength of the present study is the collaboration with students to educate game development. The research team pooled its ideas to create a trivia game and an interactive scenario game that were pilot tested on first-year students in a midsized campus of a northeastern university. "Each game included subject matter related to sexual assault and bystander intervention, as well as general campus information so the main themes of the game would not be overt and potentially cause participants to resist shifting their attitudes about sexual assault and bystander intervention." Participants completed a pretest and posttest at each testing session and were invited to complete an online follow-up survey 4 weeks following the session

Results: Researchers found that both games had a significant impact on participant bystander efficacy and attitude scores. The interactive scenario game was especially effective in increasing male attitudes toward bystander intervention. The results were most salient for the posttest; however, there was also an increase in male attitudes at the 4-week follow-up.

Conclusion: The student input was invaluable to the success of the game prototypes. With their help, we concluded that gameplay shows promise as an effective way to introduce the concept of bystander intervention and increase bystander attitudes and efficacy in situations of sexual and relationship violence and stalking to first-year college students.


“Gender Differences in Veterans’ Perceptions of Harassment on Veterans Health Administration Grounds.” Women’s Health Issues, 29, S83 – S93. 2019.

Understanding harassment through a gendered lens is a critical step in designing comprehensive initiatives that respond to diverse viewpoints and experiences.

Purpose: Stranger harassment at Veterans Health Administration (VA) facilities is prevalent, affecting one in four women veteran VA primary care users. Harassment interferes with health care quality and may result in veterans forgoing or delaying needed care. To better understand this phenomenon, gender-stratified discussion groups were held with men and women veterans. This article examines gender differences in veterans' perceptions and experiences of harassment on VA grounds.

Methods: We conducted a total of 15 discussion groups at four VA medical centers, eight with men (n = 57) and seven with women (n = 38). Transcripts were coded using the constant comparative method and analyzed for overarching themes.

Results: Awareness of harassment was not uniformly high among participants. Although women voiced clear understandings and experiences of specific behaviors constituting harassment (e.g., cat-calls, sexual comments), many men expressed confusion about how to differentiate between harassment, "harmless flirting," and general friendliness; they were unsure which behaviors "cross a line." Furthermore, men placed the onus on women for setting boundaries, whereas women indicated it was not their responsibility to "train" men about acceptable behavior. Men and women agreed that VA staff hold primary responsibility for preventing and managing harassment.

Conclusions: Substantive gender differences in understandings of harassment exist among veteran VA users. To minimize harassment, veterans recommend education of men veteran VA users, and staff-oriented trainings. Privacy, safety, dignity, and security are the cornerstones of women veterans' health care, per VA policy. Harassment undermines these standards, impeding women's access to VA care and compromising both their health outcomes and health care experiences. Understanding harassment through a gendered lens is a critical step in designing comprehensive initiatives that respond to diverse viewpoints and experiences.


“Sexual Violence Victimization Among Community College Students.” Journal of American College Health. 2018.

Sexual violence doesn’t just exist on 4-year college campuses, but in nontraditional college communities as well.

Objective: To assess the prevalence of sexual violence victimization among a community college student population. Participants: In March 2017, students (800) from seven community colleges in a northeastern state participated in an online campus climate survey using the ARC3 Survey Instrument. 

Methods: We analyze demographic differences between participants who were victimized and those who were not, and we examine the relationship between participant victimization and well-being. 

Results: Participants who identified as female, younger than 26, not heterosexual, or a race other than Caucasian were significantly more likely to report victimization. Participants who reported victimization were significantly more likely to score negatively on well-being scales than those who did not.

Conclusions: Sexual violence prevalence rates among community college students are similar to reported prevalence rates among traditional 4-year undergraduate students. Results suggest a need for increased research on sexual violence among the understudied community college student population.