Kate Leger

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  • Assistant Professor
  • Psychology
  • Developmental, Social, and Health Psychology
  • Health, Society and Populations
012-I Kastle Hall
Research Interests:


B.A., Psychology, Carleton College, 2010
M.A., Psychology and Social Behavior, University of California, Irvine, 2015
Ph.D., Psychology and Social Behavior, University of California, Irvine, 2018
 I will be accepting applications from new Ph.D. students for Fall 2022 admission. Interested applicants are encouraged to email me directly at kate.leger@uky.edu to learn more about ongoing work in the lab.
Are you an undergraduate looking for research experience? Undergrads interested in working in the Emotion, Stress, and Health Lab should complete an application through the link on the lefthand side of this page.
My research examines how people’s emotional responses to daily stressors shape their long-term physical health
across the adult life span. I am particularily interested in the effects of emotions that linger after a stressor is over. My work examines potential biological (e.g. cardiovascular) and behavioral (e.g. sleep) pathways that link emotional responses to stress and health. Additionally, I investigate individual differences in emotional responses to daily stressors in an effort to identify who is most vulnerable to the negative effects of stress and identify interventions that promote healthy aging. I use a multi-method approach, using both naturalistic longitudinal designs and lab-based studies to assess physical health as a life-long process that is influenced by a culmination of emotional experiences to daily events.
Selected Publications: 

Leger, K.A., Turiano, N.A., Bowling, W., Burris, J.L., & Almeida, D.M. (2021). Personality Traits Predict Long-term Physical Health Via Affect Reactivity to Daily Stressors. Psychological Science. Advanced Online Publication

Segerstrom, S. C., Blevins, T. R., Leger, K. A., Reed, R. G., & Crofford, L. J. (2021). Eudaemonic Well-Being in Midlife Women: Change in and Correspondence Between Concurrent and Retrospective Reports. Collabra: Psychology.

Haynes, E. N., Hilbert, T. J., Westneat, S. C., Leger, K.A., Keynton, K., & Bush, H. M. (2021). Impact of the COVID-19 Shutdown on Mental Health in Appalachia by Working Status. Journal of Appalachian Health3, 18-28.

Acevedo, A.M., Leger, K.A, Jenkins, B.N. & Pressman, S.D. (2020). Keep calm or get excited? Examining the effects of different types of positive affect on responses to acute pain. Journal of Positive Psychology, 1-10.

Tsukerman, D. Leger, K.A., & Charles, S.T. (2020). Work-family spillover stress predicts health outcomes across two decades. Social Science and Medicine. Advanced Online Publication

Leger, K.A., Blevins, T., Crawford, L., & Segerstrom, S.C. (2020). Mean levels and variability in psychological well-being and its associations with sleep in midlife and older women. Annals of Behavioral Medicine. Advanced Online Publication

Huo, M. Ng, Y.T., Fuentecilla, J., Leger, K.A., & Charles, S.T. (2020). Positive Encounters as a Buffer: Older Adults’ Pain and Sleep Disturbances in Everyday Life. Journal of Aging and Health. Advanced Online Publication

Leger, K.A., & Charles, S.T. (2020). Affective recovery from stress and its associations with sleep. Stress and Health, 36, 693-699. 

Leger, K.A., Charles, S.T., & Almeida, D.M. (2020). Positive emotions experienced on days of stress are associated with less same day and next day negative emotion. Affective Science, 1, 20-27.

Leger, K.A., Charles, S.T., & Fingerman, K. L. (2019). Affect variability and sleep: Emotional ups and downs are related to a poorer night’s rest. Psychosomatic Research, 124, 109758.

Charles, S.T., Mogle, J., Leger, K.A., & Almeida, D.M. (2019). Age and the factor structure of emotional experience in adulthood. Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 74, 419-429.

Leger, K.A., Charles, S.T., & Almeida, D.M. (2018). Let it go: lingering negative affect in response to daily stressors can impact physical health years later. Psychological Science, 29, 1283-1290.

Leger, K.A., Charles, S.T., Turiano, N. & Almeida, D.M. (2016). Personality and stressor-related affect. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,111, 917-928

Leger, K.A., Charles, S.T., Ayanian, J.Z., & Almeida, D.M. (2015). The associations of daily physical symptoms with future health. Social Science & Medicine, 143, 241-248.



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