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Kathleen Knafl, PhD, FAAN

Frances Hill Fox Distinguished Professor & Associate Dean for Research

Phone: (919) 843-3175
Specialty Area: Family, Qualitative & Mixed-Methods Research Methodology, Research

Currently Accepting PhD Students

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
School of Nursing
408 Carrington Hall, CB #7460
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7460

Office: 2007

Families respond in varying ways to childhood chronic illness, with many leading satisfying lives and others describing life as an ongoing struggle that takes its toll on both individual and family well-being. Nurses and other health care professionals can play a pivotal role in helping families adapt to a child's chronic condition. In order to support optimal adaptation, we must understand the varying ways families manage a child's chronic condition and the relationship between family condition management and child and family outcomes. Through a series of qualitative studies, my program of research has focused on describing different patterns of family response to childhood chronic conditions (family management styles). I have been especially interested in exploring the interplay between how family members define and how they manage family life in the context of a child's chronic condition. Understanding different patterns of family management is an essential first step in developing interventions that promote positive outcomes for families and their individual members. Most recently, in collaboration with colleagues at University of Illinois at Chicago, University of Pennsylvania, and Yale University, I have turned my attention to developing a valid and reliable measure of how families manage a child's chronic condition, the Family Management Measure (FaMM). By measuring critical aspects of family management of a child's chronic condition, FaMM will further our ability to generate knowledge of the family context of illness and foster the development of interventions that support optimal functioning and quality of life.


Knafl, K., & Deatrick, J. (2006). Family management style and the challenge of moving from conceptualization to measurement. Journal of the Association of Pediatric Oncology Nurses, 23, 12-18. Grey, M., Knafl, K., & McCorkle, R. (2006). A framework for the study of self and family management of chronic conditions. Nursing Outlook. Knafl, K, Deatrick, J., Gallo, A., Holcombe, G., Bakitas, M., Dixon, J., & Grey M. (2007). The analysis and interpretation of cognitive interview for instrument development. Research in Nursing & Health, 30, 224-234. Knafl, K., Knafl, G., Gallo, A. & Angst, D. (2007). Parents' perceptions of functioning in families having a child with a genetic condition. Journal of Genetic Counseling, 16, 481-492. Knafl, K., & Grey, M. (2008). Clinical translational science awards: Opportunities and challenges for nurse scientists. Nursing Outlook, 56, 132-137. Weigand, D., Deatrick, J., & Knafl, K. (2008) Family management styles related to withdrawal of life-sustaining therapy from adults who are acutely ill or injured. Journal of Family Nursing, 14, 16-32.


Principal Investigator, "How Families Define and Manage a Child's Chronic Illness," (RO1 NR01594), funded by National Center of Nursing Research, NIH, 5/1/87 8/31/92, $382,504 (last two years funded by competitive continuation award), Minority Supplement, 1991-1992. Co-investigator, "Preventing Type 2 Diabetes in High Risk Teens," (R21 DK59248) funded by National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive, and Kidney Diseases, 10-01-00-9/30/02. Co-investigator, "Parents Interpretation and Use of Genetic Information", (R01 HG02036) funded by National Institute of Human Genome Research, 7/1/01-6/30/07. Principal Investigator, Assessing Family Management of Childhood Chronic Illness" (R01 NR08048), funded by National Institute for Nursing Research, 04/01/03-03/31-07, $1,111, 312. Co-investigator, "Preventing Type 2 Diabetes in At-Risk Youth" (R01 NR008579), funded by the National Institute of Nursing Research, 09/01/03-06/30/05. Co-investigator, "Measuring Self-Management of Type 1 Diabetes in Youth" (R01NR08579), Funded by the National Center for Nursing Research, 2004-2007.