University of Vermont

The College of Arts and Sciences

Department of Psychological Science

Dianna Murray-Close

Developmental Psychology

Dianna Murray-Close

Dianna Murray-Close
Associate Professor, Acting Director of General/Experimental Program

  • B.A. Carleton College, 2001
  • M.A. University of Minnesota, 2005
  • Ph.D. University of Minnesota, 2006
  • C.V. (PDF)
Phone: (802) 656-4142
Room: 210A
Website: Social Development Laboratory

Affiliated Faculty, Developmental Psychopathology Concentration
Affiliated Faculty, Women's and Gender Studies


My research focuses on gender differences in children and adolescents' social development, with an emphasis on the development of aggressive behavior. Specifically, my work explores forms of aggression more common among girls (i.e., relational aggression) in addition to forms more typical in boys (i.e., physical aggression). Relational aggression, defined as behaviors that harm others through the manipulation of interpersonal relationships, includes malicious gossip, giving others the "silent treatment," or threatening to end a friendship. I hope that this research will inform intervention work targeting at-risk girls.

My current interests include:

  • investigating the maladaptive social (e.g., rejection by peers) and mental health (e.g., internalizing symptoms) consequences of involvement in relational and physical aggression.
  • exploring physiological (e.g., blood pressure reactivity to provocation), cognitive (e.g., moral reasoning), and social (e.g., friendship qualities; childhood maltreatment) contributors to physically and relationally aggressive conduct.
  • examining how the risk factors and outcomes of physical and relational aggression differ for boys and girls.
  • studying how aggression develops in the context of close relationships, such as friendships and enemy relationships.


The Social Development Laboratory focuses on the development of aggressive behaviors in children. We examine forms of aggression that are more common among girls (relational aggression; e.g., gossip, social exclusion) in addition to forms more typical in boys (physical aggression). Current research studies explore potential risk factors for involvement in physically and relationally aggressive behaviors.

Representative Publications

  • Lafko, N., Murray-Close, D., & Shoulberg, E.K. (in press). Negative peer status and relational victimization in children and adolescents: The role of stress physiology. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology.
  • Murray-Close, D., Crick, N. R., Tseng, W. L., Lafko, N., Burrows, C., Pitula, C., & Ralston, P. (2014). Autonomic reactivity to stress and physical and relational aggression: The moderating roles of victimization, type of task, and child gender. Development & Psychopathology, 26, 589-603.
  • Murray-Close, D. (2013). Psychophysiology of adolescent peer relations I: Theory and research findings. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 23, 236-259.
  • Murray-Close, D. (2013). Psychophysiology of adolescent peer relations II: Recent advances and future directions. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 23, 260-273.
  • Murray-Close, D., & Rellini, A. H. (2012). Physiological reactivity to relational stress and proactive and reactive relational aggression among women with and without a history of sexual abuse. Biological Psychology, 89, 54-62.
  • Murray-Close, D., Hoza, B., Hinshaw, S. P., Arnold, L. E., Swanson, J., Jensen, P. S., Hechtman, L., Wells, K., & the MTA Cooperative Group. (2010). Developmental processes in peer problems of children with ADHD in the MTA study: Developmental cascades and vicious cycles. Development & Psychopathology, 22, 785-802.
  • Murray-Close, D., & Ostrov, J. M. (2009). A longitudinal study of forms and functions of aggressive behavior in early childhood. Child Development, 80, 828-842.

Faculty and Staff Directory