Asher Lab

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.

Recent Publications

MacEvoy, J. P., & Asher, S. R. (2012). When friends disappoint: Boys’ and girls’ responses to transgressions of friendship expectations.  Child Development, 83,104-119.

Weeks, M. S., & Asher, S. R. (2012).  Loneliness in childhood: Toward the next generation of assessment and research.  J. B. Benson (Ed.) Advances in Child Development and Behavior (Vol. 42, pp. 1-39).  San Diego, CA: Academic Press.

Rose, A. J., Schwartz-Mette, R. A., Smith, R. L., & Asher, S. R., Carlson, W., & Swenson, L. (2012).  How girls and boys expect that talking about problems will make them feel: Associations with disclosure to friends in childhood and adolescence.  Child Development83, 844-863.

McDonald, K. L., & Asher, S.R. (2013). College students’ revenge goals across friend, romantic partner, and roommate contexts: The role of interpretations and emotions.  Social Development22, 499-521.

Asher, S. R., Guerry, W., & McDonald, K. L. (2014). Children as friends.  In G. B. Melton, A. Ben-Arieh, J. Cashmore, G. S. Goodman, & N. K. Worley (Eds.), The SAGE handbook of child research (pp. 169-194).  Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

Asher, S. R., & Weeks, M. S. (2014).  Loneliness and belongingness in the college years.  In R. J. Coplan & J. C. Bowker (Eds.), Wiley-Blackwell handbook of solitude: Psychological perspectives on social isolation, social withdrawal, and being alone (pp. 283-301). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell. 

Vanhalst, J., Soenens, B., Luyckx, K., Petegem, S.V,     Weeks, M. S., & Asher, S. R. (in press) Why do the  chronically lonely stay lonely? Chronically lonely children and adolescents attributions and emotions in situations of social inclusion and exclusion.  Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.