department of political science

206 Washburn Hall, 80 Upper College Road, Kingston, RI 02881


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Skye Leedahl


Dr. Leedahl is a faculty member with a joint appointment in the Departments of Human Development and Family Studies & Political Science. She was hired as part of the Cluster Hire Initiative in Aging & Health. She has worked in nursing homes, for a U.S. Senator, at a community agency action agency, and as a research project coordinator for various stated-funded program evaluation and research projects. Dr. Leedahl was the recipient of the prestigious John A. Hartford Doctoral Fellowship in Geriatric Social Work, and she has received awards from the Gerontological Society of America and the University of Kansas for her research. Dr. Leedahl currently teaches HDF 202 (Research Perspectives in HDF), HDF 440 (Environmental Context of Aging), PSC/HDF 405 (Policy Issues in Health & Aging), and PSC 505 (Public Program Evaluation).


Dr. Leedahl’s research is focused on improving overall health and quality of life for older adults at multiple levels (e.g., societal, community, family, individual). Her research fits within three themes: 1) enhancing social integration and health for older adults; 2) improving community and social engagement of older adults; 3) strengthening health and social services. Much of Dr. Leedahl’s past and current research projects involve developing and evaluating public programs, interventions, and services for addressing social and health needs of older adults. She uses quantitative & qualitative methods in her research. Click this link for information about one of her recent interdisciplinary projects that combines her research, teaching and service efforts to bring together college students and older adults.


  • • Ph.D., Social Work, University of Kansas, 2013
    • M.A., Gerontology, University of Kansas, 2007
    • B.A., Honors Program, University of North Dakota, 2005


Leedahl, S.N., Sellon, A., & Gallopyn, N. (in press). Factors predicting civic engagement among older adult nursing home residents. Activities, Adaptation, & Aging.

Leedahl, S.N., & Buchholz, L. (in press). Intergenerational political conflict. In R. Rycroft (Ed)., The American Middle Class: An Economic Encyclopedia of Progress and Poverty. Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood.

Sellon, A.M., Chapin, R., & Leedahl, S.N. (2016, online). Engaging nursing home residents as volunteers: A focus on strengths. Ageing International. doi: 10.1007/s12126-016-9252-8

Leedahl, S.N., Chapin, R.K., & Little, T.D. (2015). Multilevel examination of facility characteristics, social integration, and health for older adults living in nursing homes. Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, 70(1), 111-122. doi: 10.1093/geronb/gbu112

Leedahl, S.N., Chapin, R.K. Wendel, C., Hasche, L.K., & Townley, G. (2015). Successful strategies for discharging nursing facility residents with mental health diagnoses using Medicaid to the community. Journal of Social Service Research. 41 (2), 172-192.  doi: 10.1080/01488376.2014.972012

Chapin, R., Sergeant, J.F., Landry, S.T., Leedahl, S.N., Rachlin, R., Koenig, T.L., & Graham, A. (2013). Reclaiming Joy: Pilot evaluation of a mental health peer support program for Medicaid Waiver recipients. The Gerontologist, 53(2), 345-352.

Leedahl, S.N., Koenig, T.L., & Ekerdt, D. J. (2011). Perceived benefits of VFW Post participation for older adults. Journal of Gerontological Social Work, 54, 1-18.

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