Faculty Directory

Karen S. Lyons



Karen Lyons, Ph.D., FGSA, is a professor and gerontologist at the Connell School of Nursing. She has bachelor's and master's degrees in psychology and a Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies. Her program of research has focused on how the family care dyad experiences and navigates illness. Her innovative conceptual and methodological contributions to dyadic science and over two decades of family care research culminated in the Theory of Dyadic Illness Management (2018) with her colleague, Dr. Chris Lee. The theory is currently being used across disciplines to study dyads in cancer, heart failure, and dementia.

Her body of work has been well-cited across disciplines and included in almost 100 review articles and textbooks and has led to numerous, interdisciplinary and international collaborations and Fellowship in the Gerontological Society of America (2014). Her current work is focused on designing and evaluating dyadic interventions to balance the needs of both members of the care dyad or couple across the adult lifespan, including a current trial (Taking Care of Us; R21 AG068715) to examine the efficacy and feasibility of a dyadic intervention for couples living with heart failure. Dr. Lyons also highly values her role as an educator and has a strong commitment to mentoring students and early-career faculty.

Professional Activities

  • Member, Gerontological Society of America (Convener of the Dyadic Research Interest Group)
  • Member of the International Nursing Association (Chair of the Dyadic Research Sub-Committee)
  • Editorial Board Member, The Gerontologist
  • Editorial Board Member, Journal of Family Nursing