parents management of their children's complex chronic condition 

This scholarship focuses on understanding the unique communicative and social challenges experienced by parents with medically complex children. The goal of this scholarship is to improve the quality of pediatric palliative care services available to parents.

  • Rafferty, K. A., & Beck, G. A. (published online July 2, 2019). “You are not alone”: Advice-giving for parents of children living with complex chronic conditions. Health Communication. doi: 10.1080/10410236.2019.1636341

  • Rafferty, K. A., & Hutton, K. (2019). When black and white medicine turns gray: Exploring the interplay and meaning of discourses about parenting a child with a complex chronic condition.Qualitative Report, 24, 2102-2121. doi:

  • Rafferty, K. A., & Hutton, K., & Heller, S. (2019). "I will communicate with you, but let me be in control": Understanding how parents manage private information about their chronically ill children. Health Communication, 34, 100-109. doi: 10.1080/10410236.2017.1384432

  • Rafferty, K. A., & Sullivan, S. L. (2017). “‘You know the medicine, I know my kid’: Being a parental advocate for children with complex chronic conditions. Health Communication, 32, 1151-1160. doi:10.1080/10410236.2016.1214221

  • Rafferty, K. A., & Sahlstein Parcell, E. M. (2016). “Dialectical tensions experienced during pediatric chronic illness: Analyzing art therapy conversations from a relational dialectics perspective.” Journal of Clinical Art Therapy, 3, 21-31. doi:


couples communication about END-OF-LIFE (EOL) preferences

This scholarship examines middle-aged American married couples and their conversations about end-of-life care preferences. The goal of this scholarship is to identify information gaps and needs as couples traverse these important and time-sensitive conversations.

  • Cramer, E. M., Rafferty, K. A., Priddis, D. (2016). Studying end-of-life conversations between spouses: A qualitative application of problematic integration theory. In B. Flett & M. Gill (Eds.) Sage Research Methods Cases - Health. Los Angeles, CA: Sage. doi:10.4135/9781526403353

  • Rafferty, K. A., Cramer, E., & Priddis, D. (2016). Problematic integration and dying wishes: Examining spousal information-seeking about end-of- life care preferences. American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, 33, 69-76. doi:10.1177/1049909114550675

  • Rafferty, K. A., Cramer, E., Priddis, D., & Allen, M. (2015). Talking about end-of-life preferences in marriage: Applying the theory of motivated information management. Health Communication, 30, 409-418. doi:10.1080/10410236.2014.889555


importance of social support in chronic illness management

This scholarship studies the experiences of chronically ill patients and their social support needs and preferences.The goal of this scholarship is to better elucidate patients’ needs and identify ways to foster more helpful social support.

  • Rafferty, K. A., Billig, A. & Mosack, K. E. (2015). Spirituality, religion, and health: The role of communication and appraisals in the coping process for individuals living with chronic illness. Journal of Religion & Health, 54, 1870-1885. doi:10.1007/s10943-014- 9965-5

  • Mosack, K. E., Rafferty, K. A., Billig, A. K., Wendorf, A. R., Brouwer, A. M., & Stevens, P. (2016). An examination of actor-partner social support effects on HIV-related problems and interpersonal outcomes among a sample of HIV-positive African American dyads. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 22, 196-204. doi:10.1037/cdp0000060