Brad Donohue

Professor, Department of Psychology
Director, The Optimum Performance Program in Sports (TOPPS)
Expertise: Psychology, Family behavior therapy, Sport performance, Mental health


Bradley Donohue is a psychology professor and director of Family Research and Services in the department of psychology. His research expertise is in substance abuse, child maltreatment, family violence, conduct disorders, and the improvement of mental health and sport performance in athletes.

A national expert on sports psychology and wellness, he is the creator of The Optimum Performance Program in Sports (TOPPS), a mental health program targeted specifically to student athletes from elementary-age through college. The program blends traditional mental health services with sport culture and customized performance coaching — essentially meeting athletes where they are to develop ways to enhance both mental health and performance. The program de-stigmatizes mental health care by offering wellness training to all team members and focusing on optimizing performance, not fixing problems. This work focuses on the development, evaluation, and dissemination of family-supported interventions to assist in goal achievement. 

Additionally, Donohue is one of the developers of Family Behavior Therapy (FBT), an evidence-based treatment listed in national clearinghouses, such as SAMHSA's National Registry of Evidence-based Practices and Programs, and the California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare. His research interests include the development and adoption of evidence-based treatments (primarily FBT), psychometric development, and improving the functioning of mental health clinics through effective supervision and quality assurance.

Donahue has directed projects funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the National Institute of Mental Health, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). He is a recipient of the Western Psychological Association Early Career Research Award and the UNLV Barrick Scholar Award for Distinguished Research. In 2023, he was appointed to the British & Irish Boxing Authority (BIBA) Medical Advisory Board.


  • Ph.D., Clinical Psychology, Nova Southeastern University
  • B.A., Psychology, University of Kansas

Brad Donohue In The News

The Pistons are on track to have the worst record in NBA history, but a psychology professor says sometimes it's OK to lose.
K.N.P.R. News
The athleticism on display in tennis, football, baseball is captivating. Just look at the way Las Vegas has taken to professional football, hockey, women’s basketball and more on the way.
Now Boxing
Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in the United States, Brad Donohue, BA, Ph.D., has been appointed to the British & Irish Boxing Authority (BIBA) Medical Advisory Board.
Las Vegas Sun
Everything the athletes at Hiroshi Allen’s Summerlin karate studio do, they do through the lens of a cutting-edge, widely used sports psychology philosophy developed just across town at UNLV.

Articles Featuring Brad Donohue

a UNLV football helmet placed on the turf with an Allegiant Stadium sign and empty bleachers visible in the background
Campus News | January 31, 2024

As the nation's most-watched sports entertainment event rolls into town, UNLV researchers are available to provide expertise.

Remember sculptor Claes Oldenburg who created U.N.L.V.'s iconic Flashlight sculpture this month.
Campus News | August 3, 2022

A collection of news stories highlighting university experts’ insights on and contributions to health, environment, and society.

books inside the U.N.L.V. Bookstore
Campus News | February 10, 2022

A collection of news stories highlighting the experts and events at UNLV.

person with school face paint
Campus News | November 4, 2021

A collection of news stories featuring stargazing and change at UNLV.