Rhiannon Smith

Associate Professor

Degree: Ph.D., 2011, University of Missouri
Research Interests: Friendships and social-emotional adjustment in childhood and adolescence
Research Synopsis: Dr. Smith studies friendships and other peer relationships in childhood and adolescence. She is interested in the role that these relationships play in youths’ social and emotional adjustment, including depression and anxiety. Dr. Smith’s research investigates the development of social cognition and empathy in friendships. She also is interested in diversity in peer relations, including cross-race/ethnicity friendships and the peer group experiences of LGBTQIA+ youth.
Courses: Undergraduate

  • PSYC 1101/1103 General Psychology II (Enhanced) (Spring semester)
  • PSYC 3450W Laboratory in Developmental Psychology (Spring semester)
  • PSYC 3405 Social Development (Fall semester and Summer Session I online)



  • PSYC 5460 Social and Personality Development
Psi Chi Dr. Smith is the faculty advisor for Psi Chi, The International Honor Society in Psychology.
UConn Psi Chi chapter: https://psichi.psych.uconn.edu/
UConn K.I.D.S. Dr. Smith is the Head of UConn K.I.D.S. (Kids In Developmental Science) https://kids.uconn.edu/ 
Recent Publications: Flannery, K. M., & Smith, R. L. (2021). Breaking up (with a friend) is hard to do: An examination of friendship dissolution among early adolescents. The Journal of Early Adolescence,  27243162110022. https://doi.org/10.1177/02724316211002266.


Poteat, V. P., Rosenbach, S. B., Smith, R. L., & Santo, J. B. (2021). A guide for innovation in LGBQ+ youth peer relationships research. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 75. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.appdev.2021.101298.


Wink, M., LaRusso, M., & Smith, R. L. (2021). Teacher empathy and students with problem behaviors: Examining teachers’ perceptions, responses, relationships, and burnout. Psychology in the Schools. doi: 10.1002/pits.22516.

Representative Publications: Schwartz-Mette, R. A., & Smith, R. L. (2018). When does co-rumination facilitate depression contagion in adolescent friendships? Investigating intrapersonal and interpersonal factors. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology47(6), 912–924. doi: 10.1080/15374416.2016.1197837


Rose, A. J., & Smith, R. L. (2018). Gender and peer relationships. In W. M. Bukowski, B. Laursen, & K. H. Rubin (Eds.), Handbook of peer interactions, relationships, and groups., 2nd ed. (pp. 571–589). The Guilford Press.


Flannery, K. M., & Smith, R. L. (2017). The effects of age, gender, and gender role ideology on adolescents’ social perspective-taking ability and tendency in friendships. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships34(5), 617–635. doi: 10.1177/0265407516650942.


Rose, A. J., Smith, R. L., Glick, G. C., & Schwartz-Mette, R. A. (2016). Girls’ and boys’ problem talk: Implications for emotional closeness in friendships. Developmental Psychology, 52, 629-639. doi:10.1037/dev0000096.


Smith, R. L. (2015). Adolescents’ emotional engagement in friends’ problems and joys: Associations of empathetic distress and empathetic joy with friendship quality, depression, and anxiety. Journal of Adolescence, 45, 103-111. doi: 10.1016/j.adolescence.2015.08.020.


Smith, R. L., & Rose, A. J. (2011). The cost of caring in youths’ friendships: Examining associations among social perspective taking, co-rumination, and empathetic distress. Developmental Psychology, 47, 1792-1803.


Contact Information
Mailing AddressUnit 1020
Office LocationBousfield 154