M. Elise Radina, PhD


M. Elise Radina (PhD, CFLE) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Family Studies and Social Work at Miami University (Oxford, OH). Dr. Radina received her bachelor’s degree from Allegheny College and her master’s degree from Miami University. She received her Ph.D. and post-doctoral training from the University of Missouri. 

Dr. Radina is a qualitative methodologist whose research focuses broadly on families and health with a particular emphasis on mid and later life women in family contexts. Dr. Radina is guest co-editor for a special issue of the Journal of Family Theory & Review (Volume 4, Issue 2) on “Qualitative Methodology, Theory, and Research in Family Studies.” She is currently serving on the editorial boards of Journal of Family Theory & Review and the Journal of Ethnographic and Qualitative Research; both of which address issues related to qualitative research and methodology. As a qualitative methodologist with expertise in family studies, health research, and gerontology, Dr. Radina has been asked to serve as a qualitative methodological consultant on five federal research grants, two of which have been funded for a total of $2.7 million.

Dr. Radina has focused her program of research on health and aging among mid and later life women in the context of families. The primary line of research in this area focuses on exploring patients’ and family members’ (i.e., mothers, adult children, spouses/ partners) experiences with breast cancer-related lymphedema as well as quality of life related to breast cancer survivorship more generally. Breast cancer-related lymphedema is the accumulation of protein rich fluid in the arm, hand, neck, back, and/or chest as a result of damage to the lymph nodes during breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. This often disfiguring and disabling condition can have a significant impact on breast cancer survivors’ quality of life. Her research regarding breast cancer-related quality of life (e.g., self-care, symptom burden) and coping with breast cancer in familial contexts (e.g., family leisure, sexual relationships) has been published in Family Relations, the Journal of Family Nursing, Nursing Research, Oncology Nursing Forum, and the Journal of Lymphoedema (UK). Dr. Radina has a chapter published in the open-access, edited book Novel Strategies in Lymphedema [Vannelli (Ed.)] regarding coping with breast cancer-related lymphedema (2012). This publication as been downloaded over 1000 times in over 80 countries. Dr. Radina has served on the National Lymphedema Network Research Advisory Committee since 2003. Her role on this committee is as a family social scientist and qualitative methodologist.

In addition to her study of breast-cancer related lymphedema, Dr. Radina has published articles in Cancer Nursing and the Journal of Communication in Healthcare on the use of health information among survivors and their family member in their coping with breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. Dr. Radina has recently published an article in the Journal of Family Theory & Review about her theory of Health-related Family Quality of Life. As is the nature of qualitative research and theory building, this theory has both guided and been informed by her in-depth interview studies of breast cancer survivors and their family members over the last decade. Dr. Radina is currently advising a group of undergraduate students who received a Miami University Undergraduate Research Award ($1000) to collect new qualitative interview data from women diagnosed with breast cancer-related lymphedema regarding their efforts at self-care (i.e., yoga) in the context of family life.