Jennifer O'Brien

Research Affiliate
Office: Social Work, Pettee Hall, Durham, NH 03824
Jennifer E. O'Brien, Assistant Professor, Social Work

Jennifer O'Brien is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Social Work and affiliated with the Crimes against Children Research Center (CCRC) at the University of New Hampshire. Her areas of research include childhood sexual abuse, the commercialized sexual exploitation of children (CSEC), and Internet victimization. Dr. O’Brien received her Ph.D. in Social Work in 2017 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and her MSW from Smith College School of Social Work in 2010. A licensed clinician, Dr. O’Brien’s research interests stem from her practice experiences both domestically and abroad with survivors of sexual abuse and trauma. Currently, Dr. O’Brien is working on several projects including: the role of technology in the lives of youth who trade sex, law enforcement’s response to victims (and survivors) of CSEC, and CSEC survivor’s treatment needs and preferences. Her work is published in a variety of peer-reviewed journals, and has been presented at numerous conferences world-wide.


  • Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • M.S.W., Smith College
  • B.A., University of Texas at Austin
  • B.S., University of Texas at Austin

Courses Taught

  • SW 830: Social Work Practice I
  • SW 831: Social Work Practice II
  • SW 850: Human Behavior & Soc Environ I
  • SW 931: Adv Generalist Practice IV
  • SW 952: HBSE III

Selected Publications

Williamson, E., O’Brien, J., Jones, L., Mitchell, K., & Dunford, L. (2020). Featured counter-trafficking program: Love146. Child Abuse & Neglect, 100, 104131. doi:10.1016/j.chiabu.2019.104131

O’Brien, J. E. (2019). “What Does It Matter How We Define It?”: Exploring Definitions of DMST Among Service Providers and Victims/Survivors. Journal of Human Trafficking, 5(2), 91-108. doi:10.1080/23322705.2017.1410415

O’Brien, J. E., Jordan, B., Honeycutt, N., Wilsnack, C., & Davison, C. (2019). “It’s All about Breaking down Those Barriers…”: Exploring Survivors’ Perspectives on Services and Treatment Needs following Commercial Sexual Exploitation during Childhood. Journal of Evidence-Based Social Work, 16(2), 160-177. doi:10.1080/23761407.2019.1572560

Rizo, C. F., Klein, L. B., Chesworth, B. R., O’Brien, J. E., Macy, R. J., Martin, S. L., . . . Love, B. L. (2019). Educating Youth About Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children: a Systematic Review. Global Social Welfare, 6(1), 29-39. doi:10.1007/s40609-018-0119-7

Rizo, C. F., O’Brien, J., Macy, R., Ermentrout, D., & Lanier, P. (2019). Reporting Maltreatment to Child Protective Services in the Context of Intimate Partner Violence Research. Violence Against Women, 25(2), 131-147. doi:10.1177/1077801218761604

Li, W., Garland, E. L., O’Brien, J. E., Tronnier, C., McGovern, P., Anthony, B., & Howard, M. O. (2018). Mindfulness-Oriented Recovery Enhancement for Video Game Addiction in Emerging Adults: Preliminary Findings from Case Reports. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 16(4), 928-945. doi:10.1007/s11469-017-9765-8

O’Brien, J. E., White, K., & Rizo, C. F. (2017). Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking Among Child Welfare–Involved Youth: An Exploratory Study of Correlates. Child Maltreatment, 22(3), 265-274. doi:10.1177/1077559517709995

Li, W., O’Brien, J. E., Snyder, S. M., & Howard, M. O. (n.d.). Characteristics of Internet Addiction/Pathological Internet Use in U.S. University Students: A Qualitative-Method Investigation. PLOS ONE, 10(2), e0117372. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0117372

Li, W., Garland, E. L., McGovern, P., O'Brien, J. E., Tronnier, C., & Howard, M. O. (n.d.). Mindfulness-oriented recovery enhancement for internet gaming disorder in U.S. adults: A stage I randomized controlled trial.. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 31(4), 393-402. doi:10.1037/adb0000269

Snyder, S. M., Li, W., O’Brien, J. E., & Howard, M. O. (n.d.). The Effect of U.S. University Students' Problematic Internet Use on Family Relationships: A Mixed-Methods Investigation. PLOS ONE, 10(12), e0144005. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0144005

Most Cited Publications