Steven R. Asher

Steven R. Asher

Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., University of Wisconsin at Madison 1972

  • M.A., University of Wisconsin at Madison 1968

  • B.A., Rutgers University 1966


My research interests center on social development in childhood, early adolescence, and the college years with a focus on the conceptualization and assessment of relationship competence and relationship outcomes among youth and young adults. This focus includes: (1) studies of the goals children and college students pursue in response to interpersonal conflict and other challenging social tasks; (2) studies of how social relationships influence feelings of loneliness and belonging in elementary school, middle school, and college; (3) research on how maladaptive beliefs about friendship play a role in college students' relationship adjustment. As part of this program of research, my graduate students, and on-campus collaborators in Duke University's Division of Student Affairs have completed a four-year longitudinal study of the connections between social relationships, alcohol use, academic engagement, and feelings of well-being in college. Currently I am engaged in a four-year collaborative study with scholars and academic professionals on four campuses (Davidson, Duke, Furman, and Johnson C. Smith) that focuses on a wide range of psychological processes and outcomes in college student development. This research is supported by funding the The Duke Endowment.


Peer relations, friendship, social competence, social cognition, loneliness

McDonald, KL, and Asher, SR. "Pacifists and Revenge-Seekers in Response to Unambiguous Peer Provocation." Journal of Youth and Adolescence 47.9 (September 2018): 1907-1925. Full Text

Rose, AJ, and Asher, SR. "The Social Tasks of Friendship: Do Boys and Girls Excel in Different Tasks?." Child Development Perspectives 11.1 (March 1, 2017): 3-8. Full Text

Vanhalst, J, Soenens, B, Luyckx, K, Petegem, SV, Weeks, MS, and Asher, SR. "Why do the chronically lonely stay lonely? Chronically lonely children and adolescents attributions and emotions in situations of social inclusion and exclusion.(Accepted)" Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 109 (November 2015): 932-948.

Multisite Violence Prevention Project, . "Mediators of effects of a selective family-focused violence prevention approach for middle school students." Prevention Science : the Official Journal of the Society for Prevention Research 13.1 (February 2012): 1-14. Full Text

MacEvoy, JP, and Asher, SR. "When friends disappoint: Boys’ and girls’ responses to transgressions of friendship expectations." Child Development 83 (2012): 104-119. (Academic Article)

Rose, AJ, Schwartz-Mette, RA, Smith, RL, Asher, SR, Swenson, LP, Carlson, W, and Waller, EM. "How girls and boys expect disclosure about problems will make them feel: implications for friendships." Child Development 83 (2012): 844-863. Full Text

Weeks, MS, and Asher, SR. "Loneliness in childhood: toward the next generation of assessment and research." Adv Child Dev Behav 42 (2012): 1-39. (Review)

MacEvoy, JP, Weeks, MS, and Asher, SR. "Loneliness." 2 (December 1, 2011): 178-187. (Chapter) Full Text

Dodge, TMVPPKA, and member, . "The ecological effects of universal and selective violence prevention programs for middle school students: A randomized trial." Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 77 (2009): 526.-542..


Asher, SR, Guerry, W, and McDonald, KL. "Children as friends." The SAGE handbook of child research. Ed. GB Melton, A Ben-Arieh, J Cashmore, GS Goodman, and NK Worley. Newbury Park, CA: Sage, 2014. 169-194. (Chapter)

Asher, SR, and Weeks, MS. "Loneliness and belongingness in the college years." Wiley-Blackwell handbook of solitude: Psychological perspectives on social isolation, social withdrawal, and being alone. Ed. RJ Coplan and JC Bowker. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell, 2014. 283-301. (Chapter)

Weeks, MS, and Asher, SR. "Loneliness in childhood: Toward the next generation of assessment and research." Advances in Child Development and Behavior. Ed. JB Benson. San Diego, CA: Academic Press, 2012. 1-39. (Chapter)

MacEvoy, JP, Weeks, MS, and Asher, SR. "Loneliness." Encyclopedia of adolescence. San Diego, CA: Academic Press, 2011. 178-187. (Chapter)

Asher, SR, and McDonald, KL. "Children’s friendships." International encyclopedia of education. Ed. B McGraw, PL Peterson, and E Baker. Oxford: Elsevier, 2010. 564-569. (Chapter)

Asher, SR, and McDonald, KL. "The behavioral basis of acceptance, rejection, and perceived popularity." The handbook of peer interactions, relationships, and groups. Ed. KH Rubin, W Bukowski, and B Laursen. New York: Gilford, 2009. 232-248. (Chapter)

MacEvoy, JP, and Asher, SR. "Loneliness, children." Encyclopedia of human relationships. Ed. HT Reis and S Sprecher. Newbury Park, CA: Sage, 2009. 990-993. (Chapter)

Asher, SR, MacEvoy, JP, and McDonald, KL. "Children’s peer relations, social competence, and school adjustment: A social tasks and social goals perspective." Advances in achievement and motivation. Ed. ML Maehr, S Karabenick, and T Urdan. Bingley, UK: Emerald, 2008. 357-390. (Chapter)

Asher, SR, Rose, AJ, and Gabriel, SW. "Peer rejection in everyday life." Interpersonal Rejection. Ed. Leary, MR. New York.: Oxford University Press. 2001. 105-142. (Chapter)

Asher, SR, and Rose, AJ. "Children's friendships." Close relationships: A sourcebook. Ed. C Hendrick and SS Hendrick. Newbury Park, CA: Sage, 2000. 47-57. (Chapter)


Peer rejection in childhood. Ed. SR Asher and JD Coie. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1990. (Edited Book)

The development of children's friendships. Ed. SR Asher and JM Gottman. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1981. (Edited Book)

Selected Grants

Evaluation Research Study in the Area of Aggression & Interpersonal Youth Violence awarded by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Co-Principal Investigator). 1999 to 2006

School and Community Based Violence Prevention Program for Middle School Students awarded by Centers for Disease Control (Co-Principal Investigator). 1999 to 2003