Laurel Northouse

Dr. Laurel Northouse, Professor

Laurel Northouse, PhD, RN, FAAN

Professor Emerita
Room 4346 400NIB

University of Michigan School of Nursing
400 North Ingalls Building
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-5482

Telephone: (734) 615-4016
Fax: (734) 936-3027

Scholarly Expertise / Activity


  • Multiple effects of cancer on patients and their family caregivers
  • Intervention studies to improve outcomes in cancer patients and family members
  • Translation and dissemination of evidence-based programs of care in oncology
  • Longitudinal assessment of quality of life in cancer patients and their family caregivers
  • Predictors of emotional and physical well-being in cancer survivors and their family caregivers

Dr. Northouse is a nurse scientist in the field of cancer research whose research has been funded by the National Institute for Nursing Research, the National Cancer Institute, and  the American Cancer Society. During her career, she  has conducted several studies that describe the impact of cancer on the family, and developed a model to identify patients and family members at higher risk of developing emotional distress following a diagnosis of cancer. She has developed and tested a family-based program of care, called the FOCUS Program, for cancer patients and their family caregivers. This program provides participants with information and support and addresses ways to help patients and caregivers support one another, maintain hope, use active coping strategies, obtain information, and manage symptom distress. The program is delivered with a combination of face-to-face home visits and telephone calls. Currently, Dr. Northouse and her colleagues are developing a web-based program to help cancer patients and their family caregivers communicate more effectively with one another while managing the demands of cancer.


Current Research Grants and Programs:

  • Tailored Web-based Intervention for Cancer Patients and Family Caregivers (PI Northouse) Grant from National Cancer Institute (R21CA138725).
  • Outcomes of Triaged Family Care in Advanced Cancer (PI Northouse) Grant from National Cancer Institute (R01CA10738).
  • Implementation of an Evidence-based Program of Care for People with Cancer and Their Caregivers in the Wellness Community (Co-investigator) Grant from the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving.


Dr. Northouse’s primary teaching responsibilities are in courses that relate to implementing evidence-based research findings in practice settings. In addition, she gives guest lectures in the School of Nursing and the School of Public Health on topics that pertain to conducting theory-based intervention studies. Because of her expertise and research experience, she is also a frequent guest lecturer for undergraduate courses on topics related to working with families of patients with a serious illness. Dr. Northouse directs doctoral dissertations and masters research projects on topics related to cancer survivorship, caregiving, family communication, and psychosocial adjustment to chronic illness.

Affiliations / Service

  • Co-Director, Socio-behavioral Program, University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, 2004-present
  • Co-Chair, Prostate Advisory Committee, Michigan Department of Community Health, 2006-present
  • Member, Advisory Board for Caregiving Initiative, Wellness Community, 2008-present
  • Member, National Caregiving Quality Committee, Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving, 2009-present
  • Member, Research Priorities Committee, Oncology Nursing Society, 2009-2011

Notable Awards / Honors

  • Excellence in Cancer Nursing Research Award, Oncology Nursing Society, 1989
  • Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing, 1993
  • Visiting Professor of Oncology, McGill University/University of Montreal, 1999
  • Distinguished Lectureship, Yale University, 2002
  • Invited speaker to international conferences in Australia, England, Israel, Italy, Japan and Scotland.
  • Robert Wood Johnson Faculty Scholar Mentor, 2010-present


  • PhD, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, 1985
  • MSN, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, 1979
  • BSN, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, 1970

Publication Highlights

  • Zulman, D., Schafenacker, A., Barr, K., Moore, I., Fisher, J., McCurdy, K., Derry, H., Saunders, E., An, L., & Northouse, L. (2011). Adapting an in-person patient-caregiver communication intervention to a tailored web-based format. Psycho-Oncology, Published online, D01:101002/pon.190.
  • Song, L., Northouse, L., Braun, T.M., Zhang, L., Cimprich, B., Ronis, D.L., & Mood, D.W. (2011). Assessing longitudinal quality of life in prostate cancer patients and their spouses: A multilevel modeling approach. Quality of Life Research 20:371-381. Epub 2010 Oct 8.
  • Northouse, L. L., Katapodi, M., Song, L., Zhang, L., Mood, D.W. (2010). Interventions with family caregivers of cancer patients: Meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials. Ca: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, 60(5): 317-39.
  • Northouse, L.L., McCorkle, R. (2010) Spouse caregivers of cancer patients. In J. Holland and R. McCorkle (Eds.), Psycho-oncology (2nd ed.), New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Witmann, D., Northouse, L. L., Foley, S., Gilbert, S., Wood, D.P., Balon, R., & Montie, J.E. (2009). The psychosocial aspects of sexual recovery after prostate cancer treatment. International Journal of Impotence Research 21, 99-106.
  • Sanda, M.G., Dunn, R.L., Michalski, J., Sandler, H.M., Northouse, L.L., Hembroff, L., Lin, X., Greenfield, T.K., Litwin, M.S., Saigal, C.S., Mahadevan, A., Klein, E., Kibel, A., Pisters, L.L., Kuban, D., Kaplan, I., Wood, D., Ciezki, J., Shah, N., Wei, J.T. (2008) Quality of life and satisfaction with outcome among prostate-cancer survivors. N Engl J Med 358, 1250-61.
  • Kershaw, T., Mood, D., W., Newth, G., Ronis, D.L., Sanda, M.G., Vaishampayan, U., & Northouse, L.L. (2008). Longitudinal analysis of a model to predict quality of life in prostate cancer patients and their spouses. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 36, 117-128.
  • Northouse, L.L., Mood, D.W., Schafenacker, A., Montie, J.E., Sandler, H.M., Forman, J.D., Hussain, M., Pienta, K.J., Smith, D.C., Kershaw, T. (2007) Randomized clinical trial of a family intervention for prostate cancer patients and their spouses. Cancer, 110, 2809-2818.
  • Northouse, L.L., Mood, D.W., Montie, J.E., Sandler, H.M., Forman, J.D., Hussain, M., Pienta, K.J., Smith, D.C., Sanda, M.G., Kershaw, T. (2007) Living with prostate cancer: Patients' and spouses' psychosocial status and quality of life. J Clin Onc, 25, 4171-4177.
  • Mellon, S., Kershaw, T., Northouse, L.L., Freeman-Gibb, L. (2007). A family-based model to predict fear of recurrence for cancer survivors and their caregivers. Psycho-Oncology 16, 214-223.
  • Mellon, S., Northouse, L.L., & Weiss, L. (2006). A population-based study of the quality of life of cancer survivors and their family caregivers. Cancer Nursing, 29, 120-131.
  • Northouse, L.L., Rosset, T., Phillips, L., Mood, D., Schafenacker, A., & Kershaw, T. (2006). Research with families facing cancer: The challenge of accrual and retention. Research in Nursing and Health, 29, 199-211.
  • Northouse, L., Kershaw, T., Mood, D., & Schafenacker, A. (2005). Effects of a family intervention on the quality of life of women with recurrent breast cancer and their family caregivers. Psycho-Oncology, 14, 478-491.
  • Cimprich, B., Janz, N., Northouse, L., Wren, P., Given, B., & Given, C. (2005). Taking CHARGE: A self-management program for women following breast cancer treatment. Psycho-Oncology,14, 704-717.
  • Kershaw, T., Northouse, L.L., Kritpracha, C., Schafenacker, A., & Mood, D. (2004). Coping strategies and quality of life in women with advanced breast cancer and their family caregivers. Psychology and Health, 19, 139-156.