Leggett Lab

Updates Meet the team Current research Join our lab Participate in research Contact us

The Leggett lab focuses on approaches to care and the health and well-being of family caregivers, with a particular focus on care partners for persons living with dementia. Our long-term goal is to use our research to target and tailor caregiving interventions and services to caregiver's unique needs and styles of care, and to improve caregiver health and well-being.

Dr. Amanda Leggett is an Assistant Professor in the Institute of Gerontology and Department of Psychology and the lab director.

Research Foci:

  • Dementia Family Caregiving
  • Dementia Care Management Styles
  • Caregiver Networks
  • Aging and mental health

We are affiliated with the Institute of Gerontology and Department of Psychology at Wayne State University. We are also affiliated with the Michigan Alzheimer's Disease Research Center and the University of Michigan Department of Psychiatry.

We are currently screening participants for a study focused on dementia caregivers. If you are interested in participating in our study, please email sophia.tsuker@wayne.edu or CLICK HERE.


2024 Michigan Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center’s (MADRC) Beyond Amyloid Research Symposium

Congratulations to Research Assistant Sophia Tsuker (left) for her poster award at the MADRC Beyond Amyloid Research Symposium! Sophia’s poster was titled, “How do you manage? A mixed-methods look into caregiver management styles and dementia-related symptoms”. 

Natasha Nemmers was selected as a mentee in the MADRC'S Early Career Investigator Mentorship Program.  Her research project is titled, “Bridging Perspectives from Persons Living Alone with Cognitive Impairment (PLACI) and Non-Coresiding Family or Friend Study Partners: Understanding Current and Future Care Needs, Support, and Preferences”

Also, undergrads Thanzeela Ebrahim (left) and Barbara Castro Sanchez (right) gave their first poster presentations.


Jasnoor Kaur and Amanda Leggett at May 2023, Michigan Alzheimer's Disease Research Center's Beyond Amyloid Symposium hosted at Wayne State.
Sophia Tsuker and Amanda Leggett at May 2023, Michigan Alzheimer's Disease Research Center's Beyond Amyloid Symposium hosted at Wayne State.

Dr. Leggett's paper on COVID-19 family caregiving was accepted by the American Journal of Critical Care (Leggett, A.N., Robinson-Lane, S.G., Oxford, G., Leonard, N., Carmichael, A.G., Baker, E., Paratore, J., Blok, A.C., Prescott, H.C., Iwashyna, T.J., & Gonzalez, R. (accepted). Family Caregivers on the Frontline: Barriers and Facilitators of Providing Care to Post-ICU COVID-19 Patients in the Early Months of the Pandemic. American Journal of Critical Care.)


Caregiving with Style: Understanding Different Approaches to Care (Story) – Transitions Newsletter | Spring 2023 Issue

Caregiving for Individuals Living with Dementia (43:17 min. podcast) – Minding Memory | Michigan Medicine Podcast Network, Jan. 31, 2022

What is it Like to be a Caregiver for a Person Living with Dementia? (40:59 min. podcast) – Minding Memory | Michigan Medicine Podcast Network, Feb. 14, 2022

Dementia Caregiving Styles and Outcome (35:55 min. podcast) –  Senior Care Authority, September 19, 2022, 35:55 min.

What's Your Style? How Your Caregiving Style Impacts the Care You Provide and Your Own Well-being ( 1 hour video) – Michigan Alzheimer's Disease Research Center (MADRC)


Principal Investigator

Dr. Amanda Leggett is an Assistant Professor in the Institute of Gerontology and Department of Psychology at Wayne State University and an adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Michigan. She is also part of the Leaders Initiative and Clinical Core of the Michigan Alzheimer's Disease Center and on the statewide Michigan Dementia Coalition Steering Committee. She currently serves as Associate Editor for Dementia and Caregiving for the journal Innovation in Aging and is on the Editorial Board of the journal Research in Aging. She received her M.S. and PhD in Human Development and Family Studies from the Pennsylvania State University and is a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America. When not working to improve the well-being of individuals living with dementia and their caregivers, Dr. Leggett loves spending time with her pug Sookie Mae, going to the theater, running, and is actively involved in her church. She is also an 8 year Hospice volunteer with Arbor Hospice.

Post-doctoral Research Assistants

Wen-hua (Zoey) Lai completed her Ph.D. in Sociology at Michigan State University in 2023. Her work contributes to the areas of racial and ethnic disparities in healthcare and aging issues faced by underserved populations. Her current research examines racial and ethnic minorities' cognitive health using population-based longitudinal and cross-sectional datasets.

Natasha Nemmers began her education at the University of Northern Iowa where she achieved a B.A. in Gerontology & Psychology, Family Studies. She continued her education at Iowa State University where she finished her M.S. and completed her Ph.D. in Gerontology, Human Development and Family Studies. Natasha's research focuses on psychosocial factors of health and wellbeing among older adults and their care providers. She has a special interest in social networks and support influence health and wellbeing.

Research Assistants

Srabani Haldar completed her BSc in Mathematics from St. Xavier's College in India. She continued her education at the University of Delhi where she graduated with her MSc in Operations Research. Afterwards, Srabani decided to pursue an additional Master's degree in Statistics at Florida University, where she refined her data analysis skills. She joined the Leggett Lab as a data analyst to follow her passion in academic research.

Sophia Tsuker is a graduate from Wayne State University where she received her B.S. in Psychology and B.S. in Neuroscience. Sophia joined the Leggett Lab to combine her degree fields in relation to caregiver's well-being by studying stress responses in caregivers. She would like to explore how caregivers perceive stress and how that perceived stress influences their ability to provide care. Her long-term goal is to pursue a graduate degree that combines both her fields. In her spare time, Sophia loves to draw and play the piano.

Student Assistants

Jasnoor Kaur graduated with her B.S. in Psychology as well as her minors in French and Public Health from Wayne State University in May of 2023. She completed her senior thesis at the Leggett Lab where she explored how a caregiver's sleep quality is impacted by their employment status. Specifically, Jasnoor explored whether the association between employment and sleep quality vary by a caregiver's relationship to the individual living with dementia.


Measuring Dementia Caregiving Styles to Improve Intervention Tailoring

Dr. Leggett has received funding from the Alzheimer's Association to conduct a study developed as a continuation on her original Dementia Caregiving Styles research. While the previous research classified the different styles of caregiving (5 distinct cognitive and behavioral approaches to caregiving), this study aims to develop a brief measure that can capture the different caregiver styles and better understand the associated outcomes for both members of the caregiving dyad. A pool of items was developed using state-of-the-art measurement development techniques and are currently being tested on 200 family caregivers for people living with dementia. Results will include the first assessment of caregiving styles which may be used by clinicians, service providers, and caregivers themselves, in aims of increasing understanding of the different cognitive-behavioral styles that these caregivers employ. Ultimately, a better understanding should help us to personalize treatment recommendations and interventions for people living with dementia and their families.

Profiling Psychosocial Dementia Caregiving Networks: The Impact of Dementia Care Networks on Care Outcomes of Medicare Enrollee Persons Living with Dementia

Dr. Leggett has received an R01 grant from the National Institute on Aging to conduct a new study exploring dementia caregiving networks and associations with care outcomes. Utilizing data from the National Health and Aging Trends Study (NHATS) and associated National Study of Caregiving (NSOC), this study explores the association of care network profiles, and individual components of network profiles, with key health outcomes for people living with dementia. Outcomes include sleep quality, depression and anxiety symptoms, and important health care utilization (potentially preventable hospitalization, Emergency Department visits, and long-term care stay) through linked NHATS respondent-level Medicare claims. This study aims to follow care networks over time to examine the association of network changes with change in dementia patient's self-care needs.

Dementia Caregiving Styles

In 2017, Dr. Leggett received a K Award from the NIA to study caregiving styles for persons with dementia and their effect on health. Dr. Leggett interviewed 100 primary caregivers and administered tests of their behavioral approach, flexibility and understanding of dementia. As she analyzed the data, five caregiving styles began to emerge. Next, she described these profiles to physicians, nurses, and other clinicians who affirmed that they had seen these styles in their patients. Dr. Leggett had tapped into a new way to understand caregiving and thus tailor interventions to help caregivers be more effective. In addition, a COVID-19 administrative supplement study was conducted to learn more about how distinct caregiving styles managed care during the pandemic. Although the funding for this study has ended, data analysis and new findings continue to be derived.


Leggett, A. N., Bugajski, B. C., Gitlin, L. N., & Kales, H. C. (2021). Characterizing dementia caregiver style in managing care challenges: Cognitive and behavioral components. Dementia (London, England), 20(6), 2188–2204.

Leggett, A. N., Meyer, O. L., Bugajski, B. C., & Polenick, C. A. (2021). Accentuate the Positive: The Association Between Informal and Formal Supports and Caregiving Gains. Journal of applied gerontology : the official journal of the Southern Gerontological Society, 40(7), 763–771.

Leggett, A. N., Carmichael, A., Leonard, N., Jackson, J., Kirch, M., Solway, E., Kullgren, J. T., Singer, D., Malani, P. N., & Gonzalez, R. (2021). Care Challenges Due to COVID-19 and Mental Health Among Caregivers of U.S. Adults With a Chronic or Disabling Condition. Innovation in aging, 5(3), igab031.

Amanda Leggett, Hyun Jung Koo, Lindsay Kobayashi, Jessica Finlay, Hannah Lee, Elaina Baker, Older Adults' Worry about COVID-19: Associations with Experiences of COVID-19 Among Social Connections, Innovation in Aging, 5(1), 739 740.

Leggett, A. N., Sonnega, A. J., & Lohman, M. C. (2020). Till Death Do Us Part: Intersecting Health and Spousal Dementia Caregiving on Caregiver Mortality. Journal of aging and health, 32(7-8), 871–879.

Polenick, C. A., Leggett, A. N., Webster, N. J., Han, B. H., Zarit, S. H., & Piette, J. D. (2020). Multiple Chronic Conditions in Spousal Caregivers of Older Adults With Functional Disability: Associations With Caregiving Difficulties and Gains. The journals of gerontology. Series B, Psychological sciences and social sciences, 75(1), 160–172.

Polenick, C. A., Stanz, S. D., Leggett, A. N., Maust, D. T., Hodgson, N. A., & Kales, H. C. (2020). Stressors and Resources Related to Medication Management: Associations With Spousal Caregivers' Role Overload. The Gerontologist, 60(1), 165–173. https://doi.org/10.1093/geront/gny130

Sonnega, A., Leggett, A., Pepin, R., & Assari, S. (2020). Physical Activity and Insomnia Symptoms Over 10 Years in a U.S. National Sample of Late-Middle-Age and Older Adults: Age Matters. Journal of aging and physical activity, 1–10. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1123/japa.2018-0337

Leggett, A. N., Morley, M., & Smagula, S. F. (2020). "It's Been a Hard Day's Night": Sleep Problems in Caregivers for Older Adults. Current sleep medicine reports, 6(1), 1–10.

Leggett, A. N., Choi, H., Chopik, W. J., Liu, H., & Gonzalez, R. (2020). Early Cognitive Decline and its Impact on Spouse's Loneliness. Research in human development, 17(1), 78–93.

Leggett, A., Clarke, P., Zivin, K., McCammon, R. J., Elliott, M. R., & Langa, K. M. (2019). Recent Improvements in Cognitive Functioning Among Older U.S. Adults: How Much Does Increasing Educational Attainment Explain?. The journals of gerontology. Series B, Psychological sciences and social sciences, 74(3), 536–545.


PhD. in Developmental Psychology

Dr. Leggett is currently accepting applications for doctoral students to join her lab for the 2024-2025 academic year. Dr. Leggett can accept both interested Developmental and Clinical Psychology students for research mentorship. For information on how to apply, please reach out to Dr. Leggett: leggetta@wayne.edu and see https://clas.wayne.edu/psychology/grad/phd/developmental

Prospective students may also be interested in exploring the Institute of Gerontology's Predoctoral training program in Aging and Health https://iog.wayne.edu/education/predoc-training Doctoral students in any academic department at Wayne State are eligible to apply for this program which provides supplementary mentorship and training specific to aging.

Undergraduate Researchers

We are currently recruiting undergraduate students to join our lab. This volunteer position is great for sophomores, juniors and seniors looking to gain experience in a psychology-based lab. Interested students should allocate 5-10 hours a week for this position. Students will assist in data entry, participant recruitment and other research centered tasks.

It is recommended that students interested in completing their senior thesis with Dr. Leggett volunteer for 1 semester prior to starting their thesis.

Undergraduate students interested in joining the lab should send their academic resume to leggetta@wayne.edu.


Measuring Dementia Caregiving Styles

The goal of our study is to develop a questionnaire that can quickly understand how caregivers are approaching dementia related care, and then use this information to tailor supports and services to caregiver's unique needs. We are looking for unpaid caregivers currently providing some form of physical assistance, emotional support, or financial assistance for a family member or friend who has a doctor's diagnosis of an age-related dementia. This study involves an initial 75-minute survey with the option to complete a 20-minute follow-up survey. Surveys can be completed online or over the phone.

If you are interested in participating in our study, please email sophia.tsuker@wayne.edu or CLICK HERE.

We are recruiting participants who fit the following description:

  • Are 18 years of age or older
  • Are English speaking
  • Provide some form of physical assistance, emotional support, or financial assistance for a family member or friend who has a doctor's diagnosis of an age-related dementia (such as Alzheimer's disease; i.e. not mild cognitive impairment)
  • Are providing some form of care as an unpaid family member or friend
  • Are providing care to a dementia patient who is not bedbound
  • Are providing care to a dementia patient who is not currently living in a nursing home or other type of long-term care facility.
  • Are providing care to a dementia patient who does not have a life expectancy of 6 months or less

Compensation: Participants will be compensated $30 for completion of the initial 60-minute survey and an additional $10 for completion of the 20-min follow-up survey (for a total of $40).


Updates Meet the team Current research Join our lab Participate in research Contact us

Amanda Leggett, PhD, FGSA
Assistant Professor, Institute of Gerontology & Department of Psychology, Wayne State University

233 Knapp Building
87 East Ferry St., Detroit, MI 48202