Social Development Laboratory

Research Overview

In the Social Development Lab we study how children and adolescents learn to interact skilfully with other children and adults and how such learning contributes to a healthy sense of self, healthy relationships, and emotional health. We are particularly interested in shy and anxious children; their views of themselves and others; their relationships with peers, parents, and teachers; and their emotional health. Our work often focuses on how shy and anxious children's strengths and vulnerabilities impact their development pathways under different environmental conditions, such as interpersonal stress versus support. We are interested in temperamental as well as interpersonal learning processes in youth development.



Research Assistants

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Jack Massey
Senuri Jayasinghe

Nashata Yoosuf (2015 - 2016)

PhD student

Divya Peter

Honours students

Lauren Kearney
Shuting Li

Jia Huui Rachel Koh

Jack Massey
Nadine Rudkin

Danielle Sugarevska

Shaheed Azaad
Deborah Ong

Lucy Smerdon

Victoria Etherington

Erin O’Connor


Hon Chung Choi (Tommy)
Nashata Yoosuf
Gabi Haeuber
Win Lei Lei Phyu (Gabrielle)
Amanjit Kaur
Amy Ng
Yanyi Leng
Duy Pham Dao
Carina Frances Indiana Allen

Research Publications

Journal Articles (Refereed)

Peter, D., & Gazelle, H. (2017). Anxious solitude and self-compassion and self-criticism trajectories in early adolescence: Attachment security as a moderator. Special section on “Origins of Children’s Self-Views” (E. Brummelman & S. Thomaes, Eds.), Child Development, 88(6).

Gazelle, H., & Druhen-Shell, M. J. (2017). Profiles of anxious solitary children: Predicting longitudinal peer relations trajectories. Merrill Palmer Quarterly, 63 (2), 237-281.

Scott, V. A., Shell, M. J. D., & Gazelle, H. (2015). Anxious solitary adolescents’ coping in response to peer stress. Psi Chi Journal of Psychological Research, 20, 18-28.

Shell, M. D., Gazelle, H., & Faldowski, R. (2014). Anxious solitude and the middle school transition: A diathesis × stress model of peer exclusion and victimization trajectories. Developmental Psychology, 50, 1569-1583.

Gazelle, H., Peter, D., & Karkavandi, M. A. (2014). Commentary: Bashful boys and coy girls: A review of gender differences in childhood shyness. Sex Roles.

Gazelle, H., & Faldowski, R.A. (2014). Peer exclusion is linked to inhibition with familiar but not unfamiliar peers at two years of age. In L. Schmidt & R. Coplan special issue on Shyness, Behavioral Inhibition, and Social Withdrawal: “Snapshots” from the Field. Infant and Child Development, 23, 220-228.

Gazelle, H. (2013). Is social anxiety in the child or in the anxiety-provoking nature of the child’s environment? Child Development Perspectives, 4, 221 -226.

Spangler-Avant, T. L., Gazelle, H., Faldowski, R. (2011). Classroom emotional climate as a moderator of anxious solitary children’s longitudinal risk for peer exclusion: A child × environment model. Developmental Psychology, 47, 1711-1727.

Gazelle, H., Workman, J. O., & Allan, W. (2010). Anxious solitude and clinical disorder in middle childhood: Bridging developmental and clinical approaches to childhood social anxiety. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 38, 1-17.

Gazelle, H., & Druhen, M. J. (2009). Anxious solitude and peer exclusion predict social helplessness, upset affect, and vagal regulation in response to behavioral rejection by a friend. Developmental Psychology, 45, 1077-1096.

Spangler, T. L., & Gazelle, H. (2009). Anxious solitude, unsociability, and peer exclusion in middle childhood: A multi-trait multi-method matrix. Social Development, 18, 833-856.

Gazelle, H. (2008). Behavior profiles of anxious solitary children and heterogeneity in peer relations. Developmental Psychology, 44, 1604-1624.

Gazelle, H. & Spangler, T. L. (2007). Early childhood anxious solitude and subsequent peer relationships: Maternal and cognitive moderators. In S. Friedman (Ed.), New findings from secondary data analysis: Results from the NIHCD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development [Special issue]. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 28, 515-535.

Gazelle, H. (2006). Class climate moderates peer relations and emotional adjustment in children with an early childhood history of anxious solitude: A child × environment model. Developmental Psychology, 42, 1179-1192.

Gazelle, H., Putallaz, M., Li, Y., Grimes, C., Kupersmidt, J. B., & Coie, J. D. (2005). Anxious solitude across contexts: Girls’ interactions with familiar and unfamiliar peers. Child Development, 76, 227-246.

Gazelle, H., & Rudolph, K. D. (2004). Moving toward and away from the world: Social approach and avoidance trajectories in anxious solitary youth. Child Development, 75, 829-849.

Gazelle, H., & Ladd, G. W. (2003). Anxious solitude and peer exclusion: A diathesis-stress model of internalizing trajectories in childhood. Child Development, 74, 257-278.

Asher, S. R., & Gazelle, H. (1999). Loneliness, peer relations, and language disorder in childhood. Topics in Language Disorders, 19, 16-33.

Book Chapters

Gazelle, H., Faldowski, R. A., & Peter, D. (2014). Using peer sociometrics and behavioral nominations with young children, in Handbook of Research Methods in Early Childhood Education (vol. 1): (pp. 27 – 69), ed. O.N. Saracho, Information Age Publishing, Inc., Charlotte N.C.

Gazelle, H., & Druhen-Shell, M. J. (2014). Anxious solitude at school, in The Handbook of Solitude: Psychological Perspectives on Social Isolation, Social Withdrawal, and Being Alone, eds. R. Coplan & J. Bowker, Wiley-Blackwell, West Sussex: (pp. 263 – 282).

Gazelle, H. & Rubin, K.H. (2010). Bridging developmental and clinical approaches to childhood social anxiety. New Directions in Child and Adolescent Development, 127, 1-94. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Gazelle, H. (2010). Anxious solitude/withdrawal and anxiety disorders: Conceptualization, co-occurrence, and peer processes leading toward and away from disorder in childhood. In H. Gazelle & K. H. Rubin (Eds.), Social anxiety in childhood: Bridging developmental and clinical perspectives. New Directions in Child and Adolescent Development, 127, 67-78. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Gazelle, H., & Rubin, K. H. (2010). Social anxiety in childhood: Bridging developmental and clinical perspectives. In H. Gazelle & K. H. Rubin (Eds.), Social anxiety in childhood: Bridging developmental and clinical perspectives. New Directions in Child and Adolescent Development, 127, 1-16. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Rubin, K. H., Wojslawowicz-Bowker, J. C., & Gazelle, H. (2010). Social withdrawal in childhood and adolescence: Peer relationships and social competence. In K.H. Rubin & R. Coplan (Eds.), The Development of Shyness and Social Withdrawal in Childhood and Adolescence (pp. 131-156). Guilford.

Gazelle, H., & Ladd, G. W. (2002). Interventions for children victimized by peers. In P. Schewe (Ed.), Preventing violence in relationships: Interventions across the life span (pp. 55-78). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Research Projects

School Research Themes

Developmental Psychology

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact Dr Heidi Gazelle

Department / Centre

Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences

Unit / Centre

Social Development Laboratory