Karen Lyons, Ph.D., Dyadic Theory Published

11/27/17  Portland, OR

In her newly published theory: The Theory of Dyadic Illness Management, Karen S. Lyons, Ph.D. explains the important interdependent context of the patient-caregiver dyad.

Karen Lyons, Ph.D.Although there is a large amount of evidence that patients and caregivers are negatively impacted by the illness experience, most research focuses on either the patient or caregiver separately. The underlying assumption of the theory is that the way patients and caregivers appraise the illness (e.g., symptoms) as a team influences how they manage the illness together. Both dyadic appraisal and dyadic illness management influence dyadic health. The Journal of Family Nursing published the theory, online first, and in print in February.

Lyons says, “It is our hope that the theory will provoke new lines of inquiry, shape the way our interventions are designed and evaluated, and lead to dyadic approaches within practice settings.”

What makes this theory ground breaking is its explicit attention to how the dyad engages in illness management behaviors, together, along a spectrum of collaboration with the strong focus on optimizing dyadic health (both physical and mental). The theory reframes the conversation away from patient versus caregiver health, to a focus on the health of the dyad, and more importantly the need to balance health within the dyad. The theory is empirically-based on the work of Lyons, over her 18 year career; that of her co-author, Christopher S. Lee, Ph.D., R.N.; and the many colleagues and students they have been fortunate to collaborate with over time.