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Karin Wachter

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Assistant Professor
Faculty, DTPHX Campus, Mailcode 3920
Assistant Professor
Faculty, DTPHX Campus, Mailcode 3920
Assistant Professor
Faculty, DTPHX Campus, Mailcode 3920

Karin Wachter's goal is to generate applied research for local, national, and international practitioners and policy makers to alleviate the psychosocial consequences of forced migration and violence against women.  

Dr. Wachter worked for 10 years as a humanitarian aid worker focused on violence against women and girls in war and displacement, primarily in African contexts. Since returning to academia, she has worked with U.S.-based refugee resettlement agencies as an evaluator and researcher. 

Dr. Wachter served as a Peace Corps Volunteer and Trainer in Mauritania in the late 1990s.

  • Ph.D. Social Work, University of Texas-Austin
  • M.Ed. International Education, University of Massachusetts-Amherst
  • B.A. Social Science and Drama, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. She also had the privilege as an undergraduate student to study at the University of Ghana, Legon.
Research Interests: 

My current research focuses on the intersection of forced migration, violence against women, and social support.  Drawing from qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods, feminist and postcolonial theories, and a practice-orientated perspective, my research seeks to better understand forced migrant women’s experiences and to produce evidence-based research that can inform psychosocial interventions for women, families and communities. 

Research Group: 

I am affiliated with:

  1. The Gender-Based Violence Office at ASU, School of Social Work, led by Dr. Jill Messing
  2. The Southwest Interdisciplinary Research Center (SIRC), led by Dr. Sabrina Oesterle. 

Journal Articles

Messing, J., Wachter, K., AbiNader, M., Ward-Lasher, A., Njie-Carr, V., Sabri, B., Murray, S. Noor-Oshiro, A., Campbell, J. (in press). “We have to build trust": Intimate partner violence risk assessment with immigrant and refugee survivors. Social Work Research.

Wachter, K., Cook Heffron, L., Dalpe, J., & Spitz, A. (Accepted). “Where is the women’s center here?”: The role of information in refugee women’s help seeking for intimate partner violence in a resettlement context. Violence against Women.

Cheng, S.-Y.,* Wachter, K., Kappas, A., Brown, M., Messing, J., Bagwell-Gray, M., & Jiwatram-Negron, T. (2020). Patterns of help seeking strategies in response to intimate partner violence: A latent class analysis. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. doi-org./10.1177/0886260520966671

Gonzalez Benson, O., Wachter, K., Lee, J.E., Hylton, E. & Nicols, D. (2020). Social work scholarship on forced migration: A scoping review. The British Journal of Social Work. doi-org./10.1093/bjsw/bcaa081

Njie-Carr, V.P.S., Sabri, B., Messing, J.T., Ward-Lasher,* A., Fleming, C., Wachter, K. Campbell, J. (2020). Understanding intimate partner violence among immigrant and refugee women: A grounded theory analysis. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma.

Reed, L. A., Conn, K., & Wachter, K. (2020). Name-calling, jealousy, and break-ups: Teen girls’ and boys’ worst experiences of digital dating. Children and Youth Services Review, (108).

Wachter, K., Dalpe, J. & Cook Heffron, L. (2019). Conceptualizations of domestic violence-related needs among women who resettled to the U.S. as refugees. Social Work Research, 43(4), 207-219.

Wachter, K., Cook Heffron, L. & Dalpe, J. (2019). “Back home you just go talk to the family”: The role of family among women who seek help for intimate partner violence pre- and post-resettlement to the United States. Journal of Interpersonal Violence.

Wachter, K., Voth Shrag, R., & Wood, L. (2019). Coping behaviors mediate associations between occupational factors and compassion satisfaction among the intimate partner violence and sexual assault workforce. Journal of Family Violence.

Wood, L., Wachter, K. Rhodes, D. & Wang, A. (2019). Turnover intention and job satisfaction among intimate partner violence and sexual assault professionals. Violence and Victims, 34(4), 678 - 700.

Wachter, K. & Gulbas, L. (2018). Social support under siege: An analysis of forced migration among women from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Social Science and Medicine, 208, 107-116.

Wachter, K., Murray, S.M., Hall, B.J., Annan, J., Bolton, P., Bass, J. (2018). Stigma modifies the association between social support and mental health among sexual violence survivors in the Democratic Republic of Congo: Implications for practice. Anxiety, Stress & Coping. Doi: 10.1080/10615806.2018.1460662

Wachter, K. & Snyder, S. (2018). Centering subjectivities: Theoretical considerations for practice with women in forced migration. Affilia, 33(3), 395-409. Doi: 10.1177/0886109918766620 Doi: 10.1177/0886109918766620

Murray, S.M., Augustinavicius, J., Kaysen, D., Rao, D., Murray, L., Wachter, K., Annan, J., Falb, K., Bolton, P., Bass, J. (2018). The impact of Cognitive Processing Therapy on stigma among sexual violence survivors in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo: Results from a randomized controlled trial. Conflict and Health, 12(1), 1-9. Doi: 10.1186/s13031-018-0142-4

Wachter, K., Horn, R., Friis, E., Falb, K., Ward, L., Apio, C., Wanjiku, S., & Puffer, E. (2018).  Drivers of intimate partner violence against women in three refugee camps. Violence Against Women, 24(3), 286-306. doi: 1077801216689163

Wachter, K., Cook Heffron, L., Busch-Armendariz, N., Nsonwu, M. B., Kerwick, M., Kellison, B., Jones, L.E., Sanders, G.M.  (2016). Responding to Domestic Minors Sex Trafficking (DMST): Developing principle-based practices. Journal of Human Trafficking. doi:10.1080/23322705.2016.1145489

Wachter, K., Cook Heffron, L., Snyder, S., Nsonwu, M., & Busch-Armendariz, N. (2016). Unsettled Integration: Pre- and post-migration factors in Congolese refugee women’s resettlement experiences in the United States. International Social Work, 59(6), 875-889. doi: 10.1177/0020872815580049.

Wachter, K., Thompson, S.J., Bender, K., & Ferguson, K. (2014). Predictors of Multiple Arrests among Homeless Young Adults: Gender differences. Children and Youth Services, 49, 32-38. doi:10.1016/j.childyouth.2014.12.017.

Hall, B. J., Bolton, P.A., Annan, J., Kaysen, D., Robinette, K., Cetinoglu, T., Wachter, K., & Bass, J.K. (2014). The effect of cognitive therapy on structural social capital: Results from a randomized controlled trial among sexual violence survivors in the Democratic Republic of Congo. American Journal of Public Health, 104(9), 1680-1686. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2014.301981.

Bass, J.K., Annan, J., McIvor Murray, S., Kaysen, D., Griffiths, S., Cetinoglu, T., Wachter, K., Murray, L.K., & Bolton, P.A. (2013). Cognitive processing therapy for mental health problems of sexual violence survivors in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo: Outcomes of a randomised controlled trial. New England Journal of Medicine, 368, 2182-2191. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1211853.

Technical Reports

Wood, L., Wachter, K., Wang, A., Kammer-Kerwick, M. Busch-Armendariz, N. (2017). VOICE: Victim services occupation, information, and compensation experiences survey. Austin, TX: Institute on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault.

Wachter, K. & Donahue, K. (2015). Bridge to Safety: An evaluation of a pilot intervention to screen for and respond to domestic and sexual violence with refugee women in the U.S. New York, NY: International Rescue Committee.

Busch-Armendariz, N.B., Olaya, D., Kerwick, M., Wachter, K., & Sulley C. (2015).  Health and Well-Being: Texas Statewide Sexual Assault Prevalence. The University of Texas at Austin, Institute on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault: Austin, Texas.

Horn, R., Puffer, E. Friis, E. & Wachter, K. (2014). Private Violence, Public Concern: A Research Study on the Drivers, Forms and Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence on Women and Girls in Conflict Settings. New York, NY: The International Rescue Committee.

Busch-Armendariz, N., Wachter, K., Cook Heffron, L., Snyder, S., & Nsonwu, M.B. (2014). The continuity of risk: A three city study of Congolese women-at-risk resettled in the US. Austin, TX: The Institute on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault.    

Bass, J., Bolton, P., Murray, S., Cole, G., Robinette, K., Poulton, C., Murfet, T., Topolska, M.,  Greco, D., Wachter, K., Cetinoglu, T., & Annan, J. (2014). Study of Effectiveness of a Social-Economic Intervention for Sexual Violence Survivors in Eastern DRC.  New York, New York: International Rescue Committee (IRC) and the Applied Mental Health Research Group (AMHR) at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (JHBSPH).

Wachter, K. & Crawford-Garrett, B. (2013). Theory of change for women’s engagement in structured demand. Washington, DC: Oxu Solutions. 

Research Activity: 

U54 Pilot Project Program, National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), Southwest Interdisciplinary Research Center

Dissertation Funding from the Hogg Foundation 

Dissertation Funding from the Institute on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault (IDVSA)

Fall 2021
Course NumberCourse Title
SWU 320Research Methods in Social Wk
Spring 2021
Course NumberCourse Title
SWU 320Research Methods in Social Wk
Spring 2020
Course NumberCourse Title
SWU 320Research Methods in Social Wk
SWU 418Global Violence Against Women
Fall 2019
Course NumberCourse Title
SWU 320Research Methods in Social Wk
Spring 2019
Course NumberCourse Title
SWU 320Research Methods in Social Wk
Fall 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
SWU 320Research Methods in Social Wk
Spring 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
SWU 320Research Methods in Social Wk

I teach Research Methods and an elective - Global Perspectives on Violence against Women - through the Domestic Violence Certificate Program in the School of Social Work.