Image by Benny Capp
Dr Kelly-Ann Allen, PhD is an associate professor and educational and developmental psychologist at Monash University, an honorary principal fellow of the University of Melbourne, and a Fellow of the Australian Psychological Society. Dr Allen is the Editor-in-Chief for The Educational and Developmental Psychologist (Taylor and Francis) and Founding Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Belonging and Human Connection (Brill).
Previously a school psychologist, she combines her academic research interests in the area of belonging with her knowledge as a practitioner to collaborate with international colleagues and translate her research to applied educational contexts.
Dr Allen’s core work directly responds to the widely reported global decline in belonging, particularly for students. Her research traces the further deterioration of belonging following COVID-19, and its strong associations with mental illness (both in adolescence and adulthood), wellbeing and academic outcomes, demonstrating that belonging is a significant problem to address. With the study of belonging core to Dr. Allen’s research priorities, her projects have built a conceptual and empirical understanding of belonging across the lifespan.
Kelly-Ann’s interest in belonging has led her to author and edit several books, including the award-winning The Psychology of Belonging (Routledge), translated into four languages, School Belonging in Adolescents: Theory, research, and practice (Springer), Pathways to Belonging: Contemporary research in school belonging (Brill), and Boosting School Belonging in Adolescents: Interventions for teachers and mental health professionals (Routledge). Her research is nationally and internationally recognised for its impact on policy and practice.
Dr Allen’s mission is to signal and accentuate the importance of belonging in day-to-day life and better understand the mechanics of how it can be enhanced across the lifespan, particularly in educational contexts. Her work is based on the need to belong as a powerful driver of motivation and a fundamental pillar of good physical and mental health. In a world of rising loneliness and social isolation rates, a comprehensive understanding of belonging has never been more critical.