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Kelly-Ann Allen Ph.D.


Kelly-Ann Allen, Ph.D., FAPS, is an Associate Professor and educational and developmental psychologist at Monash University, a fellow of the College of Educational and Developmental Psychologists, and an honorary principal fellow of the University of Melbourne. With more than 10 years of experience as a school psychologist, she currently combines her expertise as a practitioner with her academic research interests of belonging, particularly a sense of belonging to academic and organizational settings.

Dr. Allen’s core work is in direct response 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), well-being, and academic outcomes, demonstrating that belonging is an important 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 what it means to belong.

Dr. Allen’s interest in belonging has led her to author and edit over 200 scholarly publications, including the award-winning Psychology of Belonging (Routledge) and Boosting School Belonging in Adolescents: Interventions for Teachers and Mental Health Professionals (Routledge). An open-access policy on school belonging (free to download) is available in her latest book, Building Better Schools with Evidence-based Policy: Adaptable Policy for Teachers and School Leaders.

Dr Allen’s mission is to signal and accentuate the importance of belonging in day-to-day life and to 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 rates of loneliness and social isolation, a comprehensive understanding of belonging has never been more important.

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