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Kayley Davis McMahan

Lecturer, Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention Coordinator


Dr. Kayley Davis McMahan (“Dr. Mac”) (she/her/hers) is a Lecturer in the Child and Family Studies Department, and is the Interpersonal Wellness and Sexual Health Coordinator in the Center for Health Education and Wellness. She is from Knoxville, TN and is a longtime Vol. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology (2015), Master of Science in Child and Family Studies (2018), and Doctor of Philosophy in Child and Family Studies (2021) from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She studies young adult sexual and relationship health and well-being. Her research interests include sexually transmitted infection disclosure processes, motivations for and against sex, and sexual health program evaluation. She actively teaches CFS 240: Human Sexuality.


  • Young adults’ sexual and relationship health and well-being
  • Sexually transmitted infection disclosure processes, partner interactions, and relationship outcomes
  • Young adult sexual health education and intervention
  • Young adults’ healthy and risky sexual decision-making


Ph.D. 2021 Child and Family Studies University of Tennessee, Knoxville

  • Emphasis: Emerging adult romantic and sexual relationships
  • Chair: Dr. Spencer Olmstead

M.S. 2018 Child and Family Studies University of Tennessee, Knoxville

  • Thesis: Motivations for Sex among College-Attending Emerging Adults: A Developmental Perspective
  • Chair: Dr. Spencer Olmstead

B.A. 2015 Psychology University of Tennessee, Knoxville

  • Minor: Child and Family Studies
  • Summa Cum Laude

Curriculum Vitae

Professional Service

Ad hoc journal reviewer

  • 2018-present American Journal of Sexuality Education
  • 2017-present Archives of Sexual Behavior (reviewer-in-training)

Professional Committee Member

  • 2019-2021 Communications Specialist
  • National Council on Family Relations, Research and Theory Section
  • 2017-2018 Graduate Student Representative
    The Southeastern Council on Family Relations 

Membership in Professional Societies

  • 2016-present National Council on Family Relations

Departmental Service (University of Tennessee)

Child and Family Studies Faculty Search Committee

  • 2019 Search Committee Member

Child and Family Studies Graduate Student Organization (CFS-GSO)

  • 2019-present Treasurer
  • 2018-2019 President
  • CFS-GSO awarded the “GSS Student Organization of the Year Award” during tenure as president (Awarded to graduate and/or professional student organizations or councils for their extraordinary contributions to graduate student life or to their respective academic department or program)
  • 2017-2018 Vice President

Quint State Planning Committee

  • 2017-2018 Housing Committee Chair
    Programming Committee Member

Awards and Recognitions

Selected Grant Activity

2019: University of Tennessee GTA@OIT Grant. Developing video lectures to hybridize a human sexuality class ($1,000, funded).


2020: Yates Dissertation Fellowship, $10,000 (Awarded to outstanding doctoral students completing their dissertations)
2020: Hazel Taylor Spitze Graduate Fellowship, $8,000 (Awarded to doctoral students in Child and Family Studies, who have an outstanding academic ability and record, and a proven commitment to the field)
2019: Oscar Roy Ashley Graduate Fellowship, $4,000 (Awarded to returning graduate students who demonstrate excellence in academic performance)
2017-2020: Kathy Carlson Fellowship $3,000 ($1,000 awarded to graduate students dedicated to promoting learning)
2017-2020: Helen Sharp Hakala Scholarship, $4,500 ($1,500 awarded to graduate students in the areas that were in the former College of Human Ecology)
2016-2020: Tennessee Fellowship for Graduate Excellence, $40,000 ($10,000 awarded to top incoming doctoral students for four consecutive academic years)
2016: J. Wallace and Katie Dean Graduate Fellowship, $15,000 (Awarded to incoming graduate students who excelled in undergraduate work and show promise for outstanding graduate work) 
Selected Awards

2018-2019: Excellence in Graduate Research Award (Awarded to graduate students who have received national and/or international recognition in their field and show promise in their area of research and/or creative achievement) 


McMahan, K. D., & Olmstead, S. B. (2020). Are college students’ perceptions of the developmental features of emerging adulthood associated with motivations for sex?Implications for research and policy. Sexuality Research and Social Policy. Advanced online publication. doi:10.1007/s13178-020-00457-7
McMahan, K. D., & Olmstead, S. B. (2020). Motivations against sex and number of sexual partners: A two-study replication and extension. American Journal of Sexuality Education, 15, 287-309. doi:10.1080/15546128.2020.1763881 
Olmstead, S. B., Conrad, K. A., & Davis, K. N. (2020). First-year college students’ experiences in a brief sexual health seminar. Sex Education: Sexuality, Society and Learning, 20, 300- 315. doi:10.1080/14681811.2019.1654446
Olmstead, S. B., Anders, K. M., Clemmons, D. M. A., & Davis, K. N. (2019). First semester college students and the college drinking culture: Perceptions, acceptance, and expectations for involvement. Journal of the First-Year Experience and Students in Transition, 31, 51-67. 

Selected Presentations

McMahan, K. D., Olmstead, S. B., Conrad, K. A., & Bluhm, J. E. (2020, November). Examining the effect of a sexual health seminar on incoming first-year college students’ contraception knowledge: A quasi-experimental design. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the National Council on Family Relations.
McMahan, K. D., & Olmstead, S. B. (2020, August). Wait, emerging adults have motivations against sex? A two-study replication and extension examining motivations and sexual partner number, with implications for research and sex education. Invited presentation for the American Journal of Sexuality Education Lecture Series, presented remotely.
Davis, K. N., & Olmstead, S. B. (2019, November). Reasons to disclose or not disclose a sexually transmitted infection to a sexual partner: A symbolic interaction theory perspective. Paper presented as part of the Theory Construction and Research Methodology pre-conference at the annual meeting of the National Council on Family Relations, Dallas Fort Worth, TX. 


Contact Information