DR Heidi Gazelle

DR Heidi Gazelle


  • Children's peer relations, expecially peer excluson (Developmental Psychology)
  • Social withdrawal and anxiety in toddlerhood, middle childhood, and early adolescence (Developmental Psychopathology)



  • I am a developmental psychologist and conduct research in the area of social and emotional development from toddlerhood through middle childhood and early adolescence. My research focuses on anxious solitary children who play alone at relatively elevated rates despite the availability of familiar peers as potential playmates. These children are conceptualized as wanting to play with peers, but being blocked by social anxiety.

    The following questions inspire much of my research. To what extent is anxiety “in the child” versus the anxiety-provoking nature of the environment? What circumstances forecast continuity versus change in anxious solitude over time? How can we characterize the multiple pathways that lead toward and away from anxious solitude over time? Why do some anxious solitary children encounter persistent peer difficulties, whereas others enjoy normative peer relations? Under what circumstances does anxious solitude forecast healthy versus disordered emotional development?

    I take a longitudinal, multi-level approach to the study of anxious solitude and its impact on social and emotional development trajectories across a broad span of development (toddlerhood to early adolescence). My approach focuses on the interaction between multi-level phenomena including individual behavior (childhood social withdrawal), dyadic relationships (parent-child relationships and peer friendships), group-level interpersonal dynamics (peer relations including peer exclusion and victimization), broader interpersonal environments (e.g., school classroom emotional climate, child care emotional climate, novel versus familiar social partners), as well as individual psychophysiology (i.e., vagal tone, and an emerging emphasis on salivary cortisol). Additionally, my work is relevant to a broad range of functioning from normative development to abnormal development and anxiety disorders.

    This work is guided by Developmental Scienc   


Member of

  • Australasian Human Development Association (AHDA). Victorian Representative 2013 -
  • Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth (ARACY) and the Longitudinal Studies Network. Member 2012 -
  • International Society for Research in Child and Adolescent Psychopathology (ISRCAP). Member 2011 -
  • American Psychological Association, Division 7: Developmental (APA). Member 2002 -
  • International Society for the Study of Behavioural Development (ISSBD). Advisory Committee Member for 2018 Conference, IJBD Editiorial Board Member 2007-2016, Member 2002 -
  • Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD). Social Cognition ReviewPanel Co-chair 2017, Developmental Psychopathology ReviewPanel Chair 2013, Consulting Editor Child Development 2010-13, Member 1996 -


Selected publications


Additional Grant Information

  • 1 K01 MH076237-01 Gazelle (PI) 9/1/06-8/31/11
    Multiple Trajectories in Anxious Solitary Youth
    The goal of this longitudinal investigation of anxious and control youth from 3rd through 7th grade is to understand key individual and environmental factors and interpersonal processes that distinguish among anxious youth that display positive versus problematic social and emotional trajectories and varying levels of stability in social anxiety over time.
    Sponsors (mentors): Ken Rubin and Bob Pianta
    Total costs: $758,346; Direct costs: $702,172; Indirect costs (at 8%): $56,174.
    Role: PI

    1 R03 HD047327-01 Gazelle (PI) 9/01/04-8/31/06
    NICHD (no-cost extension through 8/31/07)
    Risk and Resilience in Anxious Solitary Children
    The central aim of this series of secondary analyses of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Study of Early Child Care (NICHD SECC) data set is to investigate individual and contextual factors that contribute to risk and resilience in anxious solitary children from birth through first grade. Levels of analysis extend beyond individual children to their schools, classrooms, and neighborhoods, as well as broader contextual factors.
    Total costs: $129,000; Direct costs: $100,000; Indirect costs (at 29%): $29,000.
    Role: PI

    BCS-0720660 Cox (PI) 2007-2012
    Integrated Research Activities for Developmental Science (IRADS) :
    Child Development Research Collaborative
    This proposal builds upon the success of establishing the Durham Child Health and Development Study that was initially funded by NSF in 2001. The study will continue to follow the cohort another five years in order to address critical questions concerning the ways in which the transition to early formal schooling confers advantage on some children and disadvantage on others.
    UNC A   


Education and training

  • PhD, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 2002
  • MA, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 1999
  • BA (Hons), Wesleyan University 1996

Awards and honors

  • Invited Guest Co-editor of special issue with Ken Rubin, Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology (top quartile journal, in progress), 2017
  • Postdoctoral Award for Research Excellence, U. of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2003
  • APA Division 7 Dissertation Award in Developmental Psychology, presented at the 111th annual meeting of APA in Toronto, 2003
  • List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by Their Students, Child Development, 2001
  • Dissertation Completion Fellowship, Graduate College, U of IL at U-C, 2001



Available for supervision

  • Y

Supervision Statement

  • Students in my lab should have good statistical, writing, and organization skills, and an interest in shy/anxious children's social interactions, relationships, and mental health. Experience in interacting with children and their parents and teachers is also desirable (informal experience is acceptable).

    To contact me about joining my lab please contact me via email and include your cv with relevant experience and education.