Kristin LitzelmanAssociate Professor

My program of research focuses on the impact of illness on families. My research can be considered across three interconnected themes: (1) the dyadic interrelationships between caregivers and care recipients; (2) the context of caregiving; and (3) caregiver access to formal and informal supports. Much of my work focuses on cancer caregiving, as well as caregiving experiences and impacts at the population-level. The overarching goal of my work is to improve the policies, systems, and environment surrounding patients and caregivers, to better support their well-being and to prevent or mitigate adverse sequalae related to the caregiving role. To undertake this work, I make use of large, secondary datasets that contain rich, longitudinal household-level or dyadic data (e.g., data on the caregiver and care recipient dyad). I employ a range of analytic approaches including multivariable logistic and linear regression, dyadic data analyses (e.g., actor-partner interdependence modelling) and generalized additive modelling. Disseminating my research findings to end users – families, clinicians, and policy-makers – has been a central part of my work in the form of outreach presentations, materials development, and media participation. This outreach has equally informed my research and my conceptualization of the experiences and impacts of caregiving.

I engage both undergraduate and graduate students in my research, although I will not be accepting new students for Fall 2022/Spring 2023. To apply to our graduate program, see our application webpage.

Recent press

Cancer caregiving and COVID-19: Challenges and copingUW Health, April 16, 2020
Helping caregivers realize they need care tooUW Health, September 6, 2019


Litzelman, K., Choi, H., Maher, M., & Harnish, A. (2021). How Do Spouses of Cancer Survivors Engage with Mental Healthcare? An Exploratory Analysis of Visit Characteristics. Psycho‐Oncology. [Epub ahead of print]. doi: 10.1002/pon.5773.

Litzelman, K., Choi, H., Maher, M. & Harnish, A. (2020). Role of cancer survivor health and health service use in spouses’ utilization of mental health-related care. Cancer. 2021;127(7):1146-1153. doi: 10.1002/cncr.33345.

Litzelman, K., & Harnish, A. (2020). Caregiver Eligibility for Support Services: Correlates and Consequences for Resource Utilization. Journal of Applied Gerontology. [Epub ahead of print]. doi: 10.1177/0733464820971134.

Litzelman, K., Reblin, M., McDowell, H., & DuBenske, L. (2020). Trajectories of social resource use among informal lung cancer caregivers. Cancer. 126(2):425-431. PMCID: PMC6952577

Litzelman, K. (2019) Caregiver Well-being and the Quality of Cancer Care. Seminars in Oncology Nursing. 35(4), 348-353. PMCID: PMC6728914

See or my CV for a complete list of publications.


Litzelman, K. Celebrating Five Years of NCRAN: Telling our Story of Collaboration and Impact. North Central Region Aging Network Blog. April 2021.

Litzelman, K., Klink, J., Richie, S., Fox, S., Schriefer, R., & Moellendorf, D. How is Wisconsin responding to social isolation and loneliness during the COVID-19 pandemic? Results from an Extension survey of partner organizations [Report]. January 2021.

Litzelman, K., Richie, S., Schriefer, R., Moellendorf, D., & Maher, M. Moving Forward During Covid-19: Deciding Who, When, & How [Decision guide]. July 2020.

Litzelman, K. Family caregivers face systems navigation challenges, just part of why it is the “most rewarding, and difficult job”. North Central Region Aging Network Blog. April 2020.

Classes Taught

  • Course number: INTER-HE 792: Course title: Theories and Perspectives in Human Ecology
Portrait of Kristin Litzelman, a white woman smiling, with brown, curly hair, wearing a navy blue dress.


  • Human Development & Family Studies

Degree Program

  • BS Human Development & Family Studies
  • PhD Human Ecology: Human Development and Family Studies


  • Division of Extension (Specialist in Family and Financial Well-being)
  • Center for Child and Family Well-Being
  • Center for Financial Security
  • UW Carbone Cancer Center
  • Center for Demography of Health and Aging
  • Center for Aging Research and Education


  • PhD, Population Health Sciences, UW–Madison
  • BA, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


Office: 4115 Nancy Nicholas Hall

Phone: 608-262-3314