Photo of Karen S. Lyons, Ph.D.

Karen S. Lyons Ph.D.

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.


  • Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University, State College Pennsylvania 1999

Memberships and associations

  • American Psychological Association


  • "The role of spousal relationships in fibromyalgia patients’ quality of life." Psychology, Health and Medicine In: , Vol. 23, No. 8, 14.09.2018, p. 987-995.
  • "The Role of Dyadic Confidence on Engagement in Heart Failure Care Behaviors." Gerontologist In: , Vol. 58, No. 4, 13.07.2018, p. 635-643.
  • "Involvement of Hospitalized Persons with Dementia in Everyday Decisions : A Dyadic Study." Gerontologist In: , Vol. 58, No. 4, 13.07.2018, p. 644-653.
  • "Formal service use by African American individuals with dementia and their caregivers : An integrative review." Journal of Gerontological Nursing In: , Vol. 44, No. 6, 01.06.2018, p. 33-49.
  • "Patient and caregiver determinants of patient quality of life and caregiver strain in left ventricular assist device therapy." Journal of the American Heart Association In: , Vol. 7, No. 6, e008080, 20.03.2018.
  • "Patterns of heart failure symptoms are associated with self-care behaviors over 6 months." European Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing In: , 01.02.2018.
  • "The Theory of Dyadic Illness Management." Journal of Family Nursing In: , Vol. 24, No. 1, 01.02.2018, p. 8-28.
  • "Caregiver determinants of patient clinical event risk in heart failure." European Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing In: , Vol. 16, No. 8, 01.12.2017, p. 707-714.
  • "Patterns, relevance and predictors of heart failure dyadic symptom appraisal." European Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing In: , Vol. 16, No. 7, 01.10.2017, p. 595-604.
  • "Depressive symptoms in couples living with heart failure : the role of congruent engagement in heart failure management." Aging and Mental Health In: , 01.09.2017, p. 1-7.
  • "Roles of Changing Physical Function and Caregiver Burden on Quality of Life in Stroke : A Longitudinal Dyadic Analysis." Stroke In: , Vol. 48, No. 3, 01.03.2017, p. 733-739.
  • "Incongruent perceptions of the care values of hospitalized persons with dementia : a pilot study of patient-family caregiver dyads." Aging and Mental Health In: , 01.01.2017, p. 1-8.
  • "Dyadic perceptions of the decision process in families living with lung cancer." Oncology Nursing Forum In: , Vol. 44, No. 1, 01.01.2017, p. 108-115.
  • "Background and design of the symptom burden in end-stage liver disease patient-caregiver dyad study." Research in Nursing and Health In: , 2017.
  • "Patient-centered communication between adolescent and young adult cancer survivors and their healthcare providers : Identifying research gaps with a scoping review." Patient Education and Counseling  In: , 2017.
  • "Quality of Life, Depression, and Anxiety in Ventricular Assist Device Therapy : Longitudinal Outcomes for Patients and Family Caregivers." Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing In: , 02.11.2016.
  • "The Roles of Dyadic Appraisal and Coping in Couples With Lung Cancer." Journal of Family Nursing In: , Vol. 22, No. 4, 01.11.2016, p. 493-514.
  • "Depression symptom trends and health domains among lung cancer patients in the CanCORS study." Lung Cancer In: , Vol. 100, 01.10.2016, p. 102-109.
  • "Caregiver Well-being and Patient Outcomes in Heart Failure : A Meta-analysis." Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing In: , 10.09.2016.
  • "Shared decision-making in dementia : A review of patient and family carer involvement." Dementia In: , Vol. 15, No. 5, 01.09.2016, p. 1141-1157.
  • "Computerized patient-reported symptom assessment in radiotherapy : a pilot randomized, controlled trial." Supportive Care in Cancer In: , Vol. 24, No. 4, 01.04.2016, p. 1897-1906.
  • "Benefits of partnered strength training for prostate cancer survivors and spouses : results from a randomized controlled trial of the Exercising Together project." Journal of Cancer Survivorship In: , 29.12.2015, p. 1-12.
  • "Relationship Quality in Non-Cognitively Impaired Mother–Daughter Care Dyads : A Systematic Review." Journal of Family Nursing In: , Vol. 21, No. 4, 01.11.2015, p. 551-578.
  • "The Effects of Partnered Exercise on Physical Intimacy in Couples Coping With Prostate Cancer." Health Psychology In: , 12.10.2015.
  • "Incongruent perceptions of pain and physical function among families living with lung cancer." Supportive Care in Cancer In: , Vol. 23, No. 9, 01.10.2015, p. 2755-2762.
  • "Determinants of Heart Failure Self-Care Maintenance and Management in Patients and Caregivers : A Dyadic Analysis." Research in Nursing and Health In: , Vol. 38, No. 5, 01.10.2015, p. 392-402.
  • "A Dyadic Approach to Managing Heart Failure With Confidence." Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing  In: , 05.02.2015.
  • "Patterns and predictors of patient and caregiver engagement in heart failure care : A multi-level dyadic study." International Journal of Nursing Studies  In: , Vol. 52, No. 2, 01.02.2015, p. 588-597.
  • "Incongruence between stroke survivor and spouse perceptions of survivor functioning and effects on spouse mental health : A mixed-methods pilot study." Aging and Mental Health In: , Vol. 19, No. 1, 02.01.2015, p. 46-54.
  • "Symptom incongruence trajectories in lung cancer dyads." Journal of Pain and Symptom Management In: , Vol. 48, No. 6, 01.12.2014, p. 1031-1040.

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