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College of Human Environmental Sciences

Sarah Myers Tlapek

Sarah Tlapek

Sarah Myers Tlapek, PhD, MSW, MID
Assistant Professor

724 Clark Hall
School of Social Work
University of Missouri
Phone: (573) 882-6206
Curriculum Vitae (PDF)


PhD, Washington University, 2015; MSW, University of Pittsburgh, 2003; MID, University of Pittsburgh, 2003; BA, Grove City College, 1997.

Research Interests:

Intimate Partner Violence; Trauma and Mental Health in Post-Conflict Settings; Interventions for Economic and Social Development.

Research and Scholarly Activity:

Investigating Traumatic Exposure, Mental Health, and Interpersonal Violence

Dr. Myers Tlapek’s research focuses on the relationships between trauma, mental health, and interpersonal violence. She is particularly interested in examining ways that exposure to one type of violence may increase the risk for future interpersonal violence; her recent work has focused both internationally, with couples exposed to genocide violence, and domestically, with adolescent girls who experienced childhood maltreatment. For her dissertation, she conducted seven months of fieldwork in Rwanda as a Fulbright Scholar, exploring risk and protective factors for intimate partner violence in that post-conflict setting. The mixed methods study focused on the role of genocide trauma exposure and trauma-related mental health problems in the perpetration of violence. Dr. Tlapek’s domestic work has examined pathways between maltreatment and interpersonal revictimization for adolescent girls enrolled in a trauma-focused cognitive behavioral interventional study. She is currently looking at the role of resiliency characteristics in mitigating the effects of childhood maltreatment on negative mental health and behavioral outcomes.

Prior to doctoral studies Dr. Tlapek worked for ten years in a variety of domestic and international practice settings, including several years in Africa’s Great Lakes region managing economic development, health promotion, and child development programs for an international nongovernmental organization. She has published articles on poverty and economic development interventions in developing countries. Dr. Tlapek enjoys mentoring and teaching students in the BSW and MSW program and teaches Research Methods and Understanding Personality in a Social Context.