• Child by enviornment models of development (Developmental Science; Interactionist Perspective)
  • Children's peer relations, expecially peer excluson
  • Social 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 Sci   


Member of

  • Association for Psychological Science. member 2011 -
  • International Society for Research in Child and Adolescent Psychopathology. member 2011 -
  • International Society for the Study of Behavioural Development. Member of the Editorial Board of the International Journal of Behavioral Development 2011 -
  • American Psychological Association, Division 7: Developmental. member 2002 -
  • Society for Research in Child Development. Consulting Editor for Child Development 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

  • 2003 APA Division 7 Dissertation Award in Developmental Psychology, presented at the 111th annual meeting of APA in Toronto, August 2003, 2003
  • Postdoctoral Award for Research Excellence, U. of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, December 2003, 2003
  • List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by Their Students, Child Development, Spring 2001, U of IL at U-C, 2001
  • Dissertation Completion Fellowship, Graduate College, U of IL at U-C, 2001-2002, 2001



Available for supervision

  • Y