Youngmee Kim, Ph.D.

Youngmee Kim

Associate Professor, Health Division
Associate Editor, Quality of Life Research
Ph.D. earned from the University of Rochester, 1998

Research Interests

My research interests concern social motivation and emotion, close relationships, and cross-cultural psychology. I have applied these interests primarily to the field of psycho-oncology. My research focuses on various aspects of the quality of life of cancer survivors and their family members and close friends. These outcomes include psychological, physical, behavioral, and spiritual adjustment. Psychosocial correlates of these outcomes include coping with caregiving stress, gender, relationship quality, and cancer preventive behaviors. My program of research aims to examine the psychosocial, physical, and spiritual impact of cancer on the family both at a national and a community level. I am interested in investigating biobehavioral mechanisms of the link between cancer experiences and quality of life of cancer survivors and their family members, and to develop programs and services to assist families in meeting their needs and to promote healthy lifestyle behaviors among cancer survivors and their family and friends.

Current Research

Quality of Life of Cancer Survivors and Their Family Caregivers

Cancer affects the quality of life not only of persons with the disease but also of their family members and close friends. The impact on various aspects of caregivers' quality of life (QOL) is significant throughout the trajectory of the illness (the time of diagnosis and treatment, mid- to long-term survivorship, and bereavement). My program of research aims to fill gaps in our knowledge about this impact. One of my projects, the National Quality of Life Survey for Caregivers, has already documented indicators of caregivers' QOL (psychosocial, physical, spiritual, and behavioral) at 2-year post-diagnosis (N > 1,600). This project has also identified psychosocial correlates (personality, relationship quality, social support, gender) of better or poorer outcomes. Follow-up assessments at 5 and 8 years post-diagnosis provide evidence of the long-term impact of cancer on family caregivers facing each of three situations: One is caregivers whose care recipients now are in remission; second is caregivers whose care recipients are undergoing treatment for recurrence, second cancer, or late side-effects; and third is caregivers whose care recipients are deceased.

Another project, the Study of Informal Cancer Care, was conducted at community hospitals and targeted the early phase of cancer caregivership and survivorship (from the time of diagnosis to 18-month post-diagnosis). Yet another project, the Hope Lodge Study, examined the psychosocial mechanisms of social support effects on patients' and their family caregivers' quality of life while they are away from home for cancer treatment.

Biobehavioral and Ethnic Pathways in Quality of Life of Family Cancer Caregivers

The gaps in knowledge about physical aspects of caregiving are particularly large. I am addressing these gaps in another project, Ethnic Disparities in Cancer Caregivers' Elevated Health Risk, a study that examines the associations between characteristics of cancer-related stress and quality of life outcomes with emphasis on physical health, the roles of ethnicity and cultural factors in the associations, and the biobehavioral pathways of the links, among family caregivers of colorectal cancer patients. Another project, FAMILY Coregulation, explores the association between individuals' characteristics (such as adult attachment) and patterns of physiological co-regulation between cancer patients and their caregivers.

Cancer Preventive Behaviors

I have also conducted a randomized controlled trial, Nutrition and Physical Activity, with over 2,500 participants. This project compares the effectiveness of a telephone counseling program versus self-help materials only, for the purpose of establishing weight loss or weight management and improving healthy diet and physical activity. Tailoring the effective components of this intervention to individuals with personal or family history of cancer, another project, Cancer Preventive Behaviors, tests the psychosocial factors related to improving cancer preventive behaviors, including healthy diet, physical activity, weight management, and cancer screening.

Selected Publications

Kim, Y., Carver, C. S., Cannady, R. S, & Shaffer, K. M. (in press). Self-reported medical morbidity among informal caregivers of chronic illness: The case of cancer. Quality of Life Research.

Kim, Y., Carver, C. S., Rocha-Lima, C., & Shaffer, K. M. (in press). Depressive symptoms among caregivers of colorectal cancer patients during the first year since diagnosis: A longitudinal investigation. Psycho-Oncology.

Schneiderman, N., Kim, Y., & Shaffer, K. M. (2012). Spouses of cancer patients have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease: What do we know about this link? Circulation, 125,1721-1722.

Kim, Y., & Carver, C. S. (2012). Recognizing the value and needs of the caregiver in oncology. Current Opinion in Supportive and Palliative Care, 6, 280-288.

Kim, Y., Carver, C. S., Spillers, R. L., Love-Ghaffari, M., & Kaw, C. K. (2012). Dyadic effects of fear of recurrence on the quality of life of cancer survivors and their caregivers. Quality of Life Research, 21, 517-525.

Kim, Y., Spillers, R. L., & Hall, D. L. (2012). Quality of life of family caregivers 5 years after a relative's cancer diagnosis: Follow-up of the National Quality of Life Survey for Caregivers. Psycho-Oncology, 21, 273-281.

Smith, T., Stein, K., Kim, Y., Cooper, D., Virgo, K., Corral, I., & Landrine, H. (2012). Racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic health disparities among cancer survivors and informal caregivers. In R. Elk and H. Landrine (Eds.) Cancer Disparities: Causes and Evidence-based Solutions. (pp. 121- 140). New York, NY: Springer.

Carver, C. S., Johnson, S. L., Joorman, J., Kim, Y., & Nam, J. Y. (2011). Serotonin transporter polymorphism interacts with childhood adversity to predict aspects of impulsivity. Psychological Sciences, 22, 589-595.

Kim, Y., Carver, C. S., Spillers, R. L., Crammer, C., & Zhou, E. S. (2011). Individual and dyadic relations between spiritual well-being and quality of life among cancer survivors and their spousal caregivers. Psycho-Oncology, 20, 762-770.

Zhou, E. S., Kim, Y., Rasheed, M., Benedict, C., Bustillo, N. E., Soloway, M., Kava, B. R., & Penedo, F. J. (2011). Marital satisfaction of advanced prostate cancer survivors and their spousal caregivers: The dyadic effects of physical and mental health. Psycho-Oncology, 20, 1353-1357.

Kim, Y., Pike, J., Adams, H., Cross, D., Doyle, C., & Foreyt, J. (2010). Telephone intervention promoting weight-related health behaviors. Preventive Medicine, 50, 112-117.

Kim, Y., & Spillers, R. L. (2010). Quality of life of family caregivers at two years after a relative's cancer diagnosis. Psycho-Oncology, 19, 431-440.

Loscalzo, M. J., Kim, Y., & Clark, K. L. (2010). Gender and caregiving. In J. C. Holland, W. S. Breitbart, P. B. Jacobsen, M. S. Lederberg, M. J. Loscalzo, & R. S. McCorkle (eds.). Psycho-Oncology, 2nd Edition (pp. 522 - 526). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Kim, Y., Kashy, D. A., Spillers, R. L., & Evans, T. V. (2010). Needs assessment of family caregivers of cancer survivors: Three cohorts comparison. Psycho-Oncology, 19, 573-582.

Yabroff, K. R., & Kim, Y. (2009). Time costs associated with informal caregiving for cancer patients. Cancer,115 (18 suppl), 4362-4373.

Kim, Y., Kashy, D. A., Kaw, C. K., Smith, T., & Spillers, R. L. (2009). Sampling in population- based cancer caregivers research. Quality of Life Research, 18, 981-989.

Spillers, R. L., Wellisch, D. K., Kim, Y., Matthews, B. A., & Baker, F. (2008). Family caregivers and guilt in the context of cancer care. Psychosomatics. 49, 511-519.

Kim, Y., Wellisch, D. K., & Spillers, R. L. (2008). Effects of psychological distress on quality of life of adult daughters and their mother with cancer. Psycho-Oncology, 17, 1129-1136.

Kim, Y., Carver, C. S., Deci, E., L., & Kasser, T. (2008). Adult attachment and psychological well-being in cancer caregivers" The mediational role of spouses' motives for caregiving. Health Psychology, 27, S144-S154.

Kim, Y., & Given, B. A. (2008). Quality of life of family caregivers of cancer survivors across the trajectory of the illness. Cancer, 112 (11 suppl), 2556-2568.

Kim, Y., Kashy D. A., Wellisch, D. K., Spillers, R. L., Kaw, C., & Smith, T. (2008). Quality of life of couples dealing with cancer: Dyadic and individual adjustment among breast and prostate cancer survivors and their spousal caregivers. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 35, 230-238.

Kim, Y., & Schulz, R. (2008). Family caregivers' strains: Comparative analysis of cancer caregiving with dementia, diabetes, and frail elderly caregiving. Journal of Aging and Health, 20, 483-503.

Kim, Y., & Morrow, G. R. (2007). The effects of family support, anxiety, and post-treatment nausea on the development of anticipatory nausea: A latent growth model. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 34, 265-276.

Kim, Y., Baker, F., & Spillers, R. L. (2007). Cancer caregivers' quality of life: Effects of gender, relationship, and appraisal. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 34, 294-304.

Kim, Y., Kashy, D. A., & Evans, T. V. (2007). Age and attachment style impact stress and depressive symptoms among caregivers: A perspective investigation. Journal of Cancer Survivorship: Research and Practice, 1, 35-43.

Kim, Y., Schulz, R., & Carver, C. S. (2007). Benefit finding in the cancer caregiving experience. Psychosomatic Medicine, 69, 283-291.

Kim, Y., Wellisch, D. K., Spillers, R. L., & Crammer, C. (2007). Psychological distress of female cancer caregivers: Effects of type of cancer and caregivers' spirituality. Supportive Care in Cancer, 15, 1367-1374.

Kim, Y., & Carver, C. S. (2007). Frequency and difficulty in caregiving among spouses of individuals with cancer: Effects of adult attachment and gender. Psycho-Oncology, 16, 714-728.

Colgrove, L. A., Kim, Y., & Thompson, N. (2007). The effect of spirituality on the quality of life of spousal caregivers of cancer survivors. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 33, 90-98.

Kornblith, A. B., Regan, M. M., Kim, Y., Greer, G., Parker, B., Bennett, S., & Winer, E. (2006). Cancer-related communication problems between female patients and male spouses. Psycho-Oncology, 15, 780-794.

Kim, Y., Baker, F., Spillers, R. L., & Wellisch, D. K. (2006). Psychological adjustment of cancer caregivers with multiple roles. Psycho-Oncology, 15, 795-804.

Kim, Y., Hickok, J., & Morrow, G. R. (2006). Fatigue and depression in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy: An emotion approach. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 32, 311-321.

Kim, Y., Loscalzo, M. J., Wellisch, D. K., & Spillers, R. L. (2006). Gender differences in caregiving stress among caregivers of cancer survivors. Psycho-Oncology, 15, 1086-1092.

Kim, Y. (2006a). Cognitive concepts of the self and romantic relationships. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 28, 169-175.

Kim, Y. (2006b). Gender, attachment, and relationship duration on cardiovascular reactivity to stress in a laboratory study of dating couples. Personal Relationships, 13, 103-114.

Kim, Y., DuHamel, K., Valdimarsdottir, H. B., & Bovbjerg, D. H. (2005). Psychological distress among women with family history of breast cancer: Effects of recent life events. Psycho-Oncology, 14, 555-563.

Kim, Y. (2005). Emotional and cognitive consequences of adult attachment: The mediating effect of the self. Personality and Individual Differences, 39, 913-923.

Grouzet, F., Kasser, T., Ahuvia, A., Fernandez Dols, J. M., Kim, Y., Lau, S., Ryan, R. M., Sanders, S. Schmuck, P., & Sheldon, K. (2005). The structure of goal contents across 15 cultures. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 89, 800-816.

Kim, Y., Duberstein, P. R., Sörensen, S. & Larson, M. R. (2005). Levels of depressive symptoms in spouses of people with lung cancer: Effects of personality, social support, and caregiving burden. Psychosomatics, 46, 123-130.

Ryan, R. M., La Guardia, J. G., Solky-Butzel, J., Chirkov, V., & Kim, Y. (2005). On the interpersonal regulation of emotions: Emotional reliance across gender, relationships and cultures. Personal Relationships, 12, 145-163.

Sheldon, K. M., Elliot, A. J., Ryan, R. M., Chirkov, V., Kim, Y., Wu, C., Demir M., & Sun, Z. (2004). Self-concordance and subjective well-being in four cultures. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 35, 209-223.

Kim, Y., Seidlitz, L, Ro, Y., Evinger, J. & Duberstein, P. R. (2004). Spirituality and affect: A function of changes in religious affiliation. Personality and Individual Differences, 37, 861-870.

Kim, Y., & Morrow, G. (2003). Changes in family relationships affect the development of chemotherapy-related nausea symptoms. Supportive Care in Cancer, 11, 171-177.

Kim, Y., Valdimarsdottir, H. B., & Bovbjerg, D. H. (2003). Family histories of breast cancer, coping styles, and psychological adjustment. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 26, 225-243.

Kim, Y., Kasser, T., & Lee, H. (2003). Self-concept, aspiration, and well-being in Korea and the United States. Journal of Social Psychology, 143, 277-290.

Chirkov, V., Ryan, R. M., Kim, Y., & Kaplan, U. (2003). Differentiating autonomy from individualism and independence: A self-determination theory perspective on internalization of cultural orientations, gender, and well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84, 97-110.

Kim, Y., Deci, E. L., & Zuckerman, M. (2002). The development of the self-regulation of withholding negative emotions questionnaire. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 62, 316-336.

Kim, Y., & Seidlitz, L. (2002). Spirituality moderates the effect of stress. Personality and Individual Differences, 32, 1377-1390.

Kim, Y., Roscoe, J., & Morrow, G. R. (2002). The effects of information and negative affect on cancer treatment-related side effects. Supportive Care in Cancer, 10, 416-421.

Elliot, A. J., Chirkov, V. I., Kim, Y., & Sheldon, K. M. (2001). A cross-cultural analysis of avoidance (relative to approach) personal goals. Psychological Science, 12, 505-510.

Sheldon, K., Elliot, A., Kim, Y., & Kasser, T. (2001). What's satisfying about satisfying events? Testing ten candidate psychological needs. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 80, 325-339.

Wheeler, L., & Kim, Y. (1997). The physical attractiveness stereotype has different content in collectivistic cultures: What is beautiful is culturally good. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 23, 795-800.


Self-Report instruments

MICCI (Morbidities Index for Caregivers of Chronic Illnesses)

NAFC-C (Needs Assessment of Family Caregivers - Cancer)

SRWNE (Self-Regulation of Withholding Negative Emotions)


PSY 420. Health and Medical Psychology
PSY 481. Relationships and Health
PSY 625. Social Psychology
PSY 693. Seminar in Behavioral Medicine

American Cancer Society: (for caregivers:

National Cancer Institute:

Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention:

American Psychosocial Oncology Society:

International Psychosocial Oncology Society:

Society of Behavioral Medicine, Cancer Special Interest Group:

Gerontological Society of America:

American Association of Retired Persons:

Family Caregiver Alliance:

National Alliance for Caregiving:

University of Miami College of Arts and Sciences Department of Psychology