Karen S. Lyons, Ph.D.


Associate Professor
PhD Program Director
Oregon Health & Science University
School of Nursing Portland Campus
3455 SW US Veterans Hospital Rd. SN-ORD
Portland, Ore. 97239

Phone: 503 494-3975
FAX: 503 418-0903
E-mail: lyonsk@ohsu.edu

Currently accepting Ph.D. students

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My program of research focuses on family and dyadic experiences of chronic illness with particular emphasis on how and why members of the care dyad are similar and different in their appraisals of the illness context (including patient symptoms). I am very interested in the impact this similarity/difference has on management of the illness by the couple or family dyad and ultimately how it impacts the health and well-being of both members. I have taken a unique dyadic perspective throughout my career to view the patient and their family member providing care as a team. I strongly believe this perspective sheds important light on the illness experience and will lead to more ecologically-sound and effective interventions. I have published over 40 publications across the disciplines of nursing, psychology, and gerontology. In addition I have served as PI on an NIA R03 study of changing health in family care dyads;a NIAMS R21 to examine couples coping with Fibromyalgia, a 5-year American Cancer Society study of family dyads living with lung cancer and PI or Co-PI on several small grants related to family care including three current studies focused on couples with chronic illness (in heart failure, cancer and Parkinson's disease). All of my research has involved interdisciplinary teams.


Dr. Lyons is a research psychologist with a Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies from Pennsylvania State University.


Lyons, K.S., Miller, L.M., & McCarthy, M.J. (in press). The roles of dyadic appraisal and dyadic coping in couples with lung cancer. Journal of Family Nursing.

Miller, L.M., Sullivan, D.R., & Lyons, K.S. (in press). Dyadic perceptions of the decision process in families living with lung cancer. Oncology Nursing Forum.

Lyons, K.S., Winters-Stone, K.M., Bennett, J.A., &Beer, T.M. (e-pub ahead of print). The effects of partnered exercise on physical intimacy in couples coping with prostate cancer. Health Psychology. Doi:10.1037/hea0000287.

Miller, L.M., Lyons, K.S., Bennett, J.A. (2015). Incongruent perceptions of pain and physical function among families living with lung cancer. Supportive Care in Cancer, 23, 2755-2762. doi: 10.1007/s00520-015-2640-x. PMID: 25669967.

Lyons, K.S., Vellone, E., Lee, C.S., Cocchieri, A., Bidwell, J.T., D'Agostino, F., Hiatt, S.O., Alvaro, R., Juarez-Vela, R., & Riegel, B. (2015). A dyadic approach to managing heart failure with confidence. Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing, 30 (Suppl 1), S64-S71. doi: 10.1097/JCN.0000000000000234. PMID: 25658186.

McCarthy, M.J. & Lyons, K.S. (2015). Incongruence between stroke survivor and spouse perceptions of survivor functioning and effects on spouse emotional health: A mixed methods pilot study. Aging & Mental Health, 19, 46-54. doi: 10.1080/13607863.2014.913551 PMID: 24831861.

Lyons, K.S., Bennett, J.A., Nail, L.M., Fromme, E., Dieckmann, N., & Sayer, A.G.  (2014).The role of patient pain and physical function on depressive symptoms in couples with lung cancer: A longitudinal dyadic analysis. Journal of Family Psychology, 28, 692-700.  doi: 10.1037/fam0000017.PMID: 25090253.

Lyons, K.S., Lee, C.S., Bennett, J.A., Nail, L.M., Fromme, E., Hiatt, S.O., & Sayer, A.G. (2014). Symptom incongruence trajectories in lung cancer dyads. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 48, 1031-1040. doi: 10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2014.02.004. PMID: 24747222.

Lyons, K.S., Jones, K.D., Bennett, R.M., Hiatt, S.O., & Sayer, A.G. (2013). Couple perceptions of fibromyalgia symptoms: The role of communication. PAIN®, 154, 2417-2426. doi:10.1016/j.pain.2013.07.018. PMCID: PMC3808472.

Lyons, K.S., Stewart, B. J., Archbold, P. G., & Carter, J. H. (2009). Optimism, pessimism, mutuality, and gender: Predicting 10-year role strain in Parkinson disease spouses. The Gerontologist, 49, 378-387. doi: 10.1093/geront/gnp046.

Lyons, K.S., Sayer, A.G., Archbold, P. G., Hornbrook, M., & Stewart, B. J. (2007). The enduring and contextual effects of physical health and depression on care dyad mutuality. Research in Nursing & Health, 30, 84-98. doi:10.1002/nur.20165.

Lyons, K.S.,  Stewart, B. J., Archbold, P. G., Carter, J. H., & Perrin, N. A. (2004). Pessimism and optimism as early-warning signs in Parkinson's disease caregiving. Nursing Research, 53, 354-362.

Lyons, K.S., Zarit, S. H., Sayer, A. G. & Whitlatch, C. J. (2002). Caregiving as a dyadic process: Perspectives from caregiver and receiver. Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences,57B, P195-P204.