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Personal profile


Dr Kelly-Ann Allen is nationally and internationally recognised for her research in the area of school belonging and for her translation of this expertise within educational contexts. She is a board endorsed Educational and Developmental Psychologist and senior lecturer within the School of Education, Monash University (Educational Psychology and Inclusion). Kelly-ann is a Senior Fellow (Honorary) of the Centre for Positive Psychology, Melbourne Graduate School of Education, University of Melbourne and is the inaugural director and founder of the International Belonging Research Laboratory, which represents a large group of belonging researchers from around the world.

Dr Kelly Allen’s PhD which studied how school belonging could be increased in students in secondary schools was awarded the Australian Psychological Society’s 2016 ‘Award for Excellent PhD Thesis in Psychology’ and the 2016 Psychology of Relationships Interest Group’s ‘Psychology of Relationships Thesis Award’.

Kelly is the acting editor of the Educational and Developmental Psychologist and associate editor of two journals (the Australian Journal of Psychology and the Australian Community Psychologist). Kelly-Ann also serves on several editorial boards, including The British Psychological Society’s, Child and Educational Psychologist and Social Health and Behaviour. She has co-edited three special issues on school belonging which can be found within Educational and Child Psychology and the Educational and Developmental Psychologist.

Kelly is a Board Director for two not-for-profits, the Homeless Project and Early Childhood Intervention Australia VIC TAS, a peak body for early intervention in Australia and previously a co-director and co-founder of the Change Cycle, a community engagement partnership with Umoona Tjutagku Health Service 
Aboriginal Corporation in Coober Pedy. Her activities focused on community engagement have won awards including the University of Melbourne's Peter McPhee Award for student engagement and the Leader's in Community Award.

Kelly is a fellow of the Australian Psychological Society's College of Educational and Developmental Psychologists, where she is currently Treasurer for the National Committee. Kelly has also been involved in ongoing committee work with the American Psychological Society's Division 15 (Educational Psychology).

Kelly holds memberships with Division 16 (School Psychology), the Positive Education Schools Association (PESA), Early Childhood Intervention Australia (ECIA Vic/Tas), and the International Positive Psychology Association (IPPA).

Dr Allen has published several book chapters and peer-reviewed papers related to school belonging as well as three books: 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). The quality and productivity of her research has been acknowledged through the Dean’s Award for Research Excellence by an Early Career Researcher (2019) and the Advancing Women's Success Award (2020). In 2019, Dr Allen was a nominee for the Vice-Chancellor's Award for Research Excellence by an Early Career researcher. Dr Allen is regularly called upon for media interactions and invited lecturers in the area of belonging you can find out more at www.drkellyallen.com

Research interests

Kelly's research interests are concerned with school belonging and belonging more generally and for the translation of this research to educational contexts.


Monash teaching commitment

Graduate Diploma of Professional Psychology

EDF4604 - Research project

EDF4599 - Positive psychology in professional practice

Master of Educational and Developmental Psychology

EDF5723 - Exceptionality: Assessment and intervention

EDF5570- Advanced clinical interventions for mental health

EDF5572- Professional experience: Schools, families and groups

EDF5741- Psychology thesis part 1

EDF5742- Psychology thesis part 2

Community service

International Belonging Research Laboratory (IBRL)

Dr Allen is one of the directors of the IBRL, a transdisciplinary international group of researchers focused on investigating the science of belonging. The group oversees a private Facebook group and social media channels on Twitter and Instagram. The IBRL aims to foster cross-country, discipline, faculty and institution collaborations and disseminate research findings to the general public. 

If you are a belonging researcher and would like to network with a private Facebook group, share your research or publications, network with like-minded researchers, or even collaborate on a project, please consider joining us. If you would like to follow news and updates, please join us on Twitter and Instagram. A repository of belonging measurement tools for practice and research can be found here. 

More information can be found at www.thebelonginglab.com


Berry Street Education Model Master Class on School Belonging

A sense of belonging is a fundamental human need. Alarmingly, research tells us that one in four students does not feel like they ‘belong’ to school. Loneliness has become an epidemic and adolescents are an age group at risk. What can be done?

In this innovative masterclass, The Berry Street Education Model introduces a topic of fundamental importance: school belonging. Fostering belonging in students has widespread benefits, with positive outcomes that extend well into adulthood.

Schools are ideal places to build lasting connections and stand ready to make a difference. This masterclass opens doors for creating connected and inclusive classrooms and schools.

Education/Academic qualification

Educational Psychology, PhD


Educational Psychology, Masters


External positions

Acting Editor, Educational and Developmental Psychologist

2019 → …

Board Director, Early Childhood Intervention Australia (Vic/Tas)

2018 → …

Board Director, The Homeless Project

2018 → …

Treasurer, The College of Educational and Developmental Psychologists

2012 → …

Senior Honorary Fellow, University of Melbourne

2012 → …

Research area keywords

  • Belonging
  • School belonging
  • Positive Psychology
  • Social and emotional learning
  • social inclusion
  • relationships
  • Enhancing health and wellbeing
  • Educating for diversity and inclusion
  • Transforming teaching and learning

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.


Research Output

Boosting School Belonging in Adolescents: Interventions for Teachers and Mental Health Professionals

Allen, K-A. & Kern, P., 2020, 1st ed. Abingdon UK: Routledge. 203 p.

Research output: Book/ReportBookOtherpeer-review

Commentary: A pilot digital intervention targeting loneliness in youth mental health

Allen, K., 24 Jan 2020, In : Frontiers in Psychiatry. 10, 4 p., 959.

Research output: Contribution to journalComment / DebateOtherpeer-review

Open Access

Editorial for Creating a Culture of Belonging in a School Context

Allen, K-A., Boyle, C. & Roffey, S., Dec 2019, In : Educational & Child Psychology. 36, 4, p. 5-7 3 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialOtherpeer-review

Complete mental health in elementary school children: Understanding youth school functioning and adjustment

Arslan, G. & Allen, K., Feb 2020, (Accepted/In press) In : Current Psychology. 10 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Academic hardiness as a mediator for the relationship between school belonging and academic stress

Abdollahi, A., Panahipour, S., Tafti, M. A. & Allen, K. A., 1 Jan 2020, (Accepted/In press) In : Psychology in the Schools. 10 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Advancing Women's Research Success Award

Kelly-Ann Allen (Recipient), 2020

Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

Australian Postgraduate Award

Kelly-Ann Allen (Recipient), 2011

Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

Award for Excellent PhD Thesis in Psychology

Kelly-Ann Allen (Recipient), 2016

Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

Dean’s Award for Research Excellence by an Early Career Researcher

Kelly-Ann Allen (Recipient), 2019

Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

Press / Media

How schools can maximise online learning

Kelly-Ann Allen


1 Media contribution

Press/Media: Expert Comment

The magic mood boost of oxytocin

Kelly-Ann Allen


1 Media contribution

Press/Media: Expert Comment